Why is it important to have your say on Victoria’s Youth Strategy?

by Phuong Nguyen, Shout Out Speaker and Youth Researcher at CMY

We deserve to live happy and fruitful lives. We are determined to contribute to issues that affect us and to influence the government in decision-making. With our knowledge and resilience, we should be given the opportunities to participate more fully in the economy and society. The voices of multicultural young people should be emphasised in Victorian policies as a place that celebrates cultural diversity. Our potential will become transparent once we are given the chance to build a better community.

There is a prevalent belief that we are too naïve and inexperienced when it comes to decision-making. This assumption has left behind many of our voices and needs in government decisions. Despite the expectations of being the future leaders for the next generations, we are not given enough opportunities to prepare for the future. It is crucial to recognise these negative stereotypes while providing us more platforms to participate in local and state strategies.

According to the ABS, there are 971,832 young people aged 12-24 in Victoria (16% of the total Victorian population), and 22% of our youth population were born overseas (CMY, 2019). This large population implies that many of us are impacted by the government’s decisions. We have the capabilities to shape society and empower policy makers on local and global issues. Throughout history, we have protested and fought for our rights around various issues, from climate change to systemic racism. These efforts have captured governments’ attention and allowed them to implement strategies to mitigate the negative impact of those prevalent problems. It shows that we are aware and able to make a difference.

Many of us – such as those from culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal backgrounds – feel invisible and disadvantaged from the youth engagement process. Newly arrived migrants and refugees may experience language barriers, social isolation, and mental health issues during the transition period to Australia. Aboriginal communities usually experience poor education and employment outcomes due to the long-term impact of racism and discrimination. International students, like myself, do not receive much financial assistance from the government. With COVID-19, our problems can become gloomier if they are not heard by the government. Regardless of our socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, it is important to address these needs in Victoria’s Youth Strategy.

Find out how you can have your say

Join CMY at an upcoming forum for International Students on Thursday 17 December, 4.00-6.30pm: Register here

The consultation is open until midnight on Monday 21 December 2020.