New program to build young people’s power in local government

Published: 29 Jun 2022

A new partnership between Mackay Regional Council and the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) is bringing a pilot program to the region that will revolutionise how young people are included in local government.

The Young Mayors program will support people aged 17 and under to get elected to the youth cabinet, positioning young people as decision makers on issues that impact their future.

Elected by young people in the Mackay region, the youth cabinet will work together to define priority areas, and work with council to implement projects and events.

“Young people are the future leaders of our region. We’ve heard through 1000 conversations that young people want to have a voice, and to influence decisions that impact how they live in our region,” Mayor Greg Williamson said.

“Our council wants to be part of building a succession pathway that values their participation now and as they get older. We’re excited to work with FYA to make that happen through the Young Mayors program.”

The program will back young people to learn about and participate in the systems that govern their lives, and influence decisions that impact their community.

“Local governments play a huge role in the everyday lives of people in our communities, and that includes young people. But young people are often locked out of power - consulted but never in charge, ” FYA’s Executive Director of Civic and Cultural Engagement Molly Whelan said.

“This program puts young people in the driver’s seat - ensuring that council policies and programs better reflect the concerns, needs, and desires of local young people.”

The Young Mayors program has been designed by FYA and is based on successful UK models. Mackay Regional Council is the first to pilot the program in Australia, with plans to scale to councils across the country.

For more information about the Young Mayors program, visit their website.