The Western Australian government will establish a new advocacy body to improve the government’s understanding of young LGBTIQA+ people’s needs.
Youth Minister Dave Kelly announced the initiative at the State of the Youth Sector forum on Friday.
“LGBTIQA+ youth are a vulnerable group, and their voices need to be heard,” he said.
“A representative body for young LGBTIQA+ people will understand and advocate for their rights, leading to stronger community connections and ultimately improved wellbeing and resilience.”
The government-funded body would be established through the Youth Advisory Council of Western Australia. It would focus on policy advice and analysis, education, awareness-raising, building connections within the WA government and in the broader community, and would advise the youth minister.
Kelly also announced that, for the first time, members of the Ministerial Youth Advisory Council would be remunerated for their service, in recognition of “the value that the council members bring to the state government’s policy-making processes”.
The MYAC was established in 2017. Comprised of up to 12 people aged 15 to 25 years, it has informed government policy and services for young people in the state.
Kelly noted the council has been an “invaluable source of information” for the government during COVID-19, informing it of the effects the pandemic has had on young people and possible solutions.
“2020 has been incredibly hard for young people in WA and across the world, with the COVID-19 pandemic having had a major impact on their health, education, training and employment,” he said.
“WA youth now more than ever need to feel they are part of society and are heard, and that their specific needs are considered in any pandemic recovery plan. The Ministerial Youth Advisory Council is an integral part of that, and I encourage young people who want to make a difference to nominate.”
Nominations for new MYAC members open later this year with a new council expected to convene in 2021. Members can join the council for a 12-month term, with a possible second year extension.