Government Consultation with Children and Young People
Government consultations with children and young people in the ACT which have been undertaken by ACT Government directorates.
What do we measure?
A compilation of consultations conducted by ACT Government directorates (Community Services and Education) and Electoral Commission with children and young people throughout the year. This includes a description of the consultation, the number of children and young people consulted and their age, and also the approach taken to consult with the young people.
Why is this important?
It is a basic human right for children and young people to be informed and have a voice in decisions that affect them. The ACT Children and Young People's Commitment 2015-2025 priority area 'include children and young people in decision making, especially in areas that affect them, ensuring they are informed and have a voice' will be reported with this indicator. It will also assist in identifying areas of government policy, program and service delivery and development which need further work to best engage with children and young people and include them in decisions which affect them.83
The ACT Government youth participation strategy, Youth InterACT, encourages participation of young people in the community and provides opportunities for young people to contribute to discussions on youth issues. This includes participation in the development and delivery of Government policies and programs, particularly those that impact them.
Under the Youth InterACT strategy, the YAC was initiated by the ACT Government to provide young people aged 12â€“25 years with an opportunity to take a leading role in participation and consultation activities on issues that affect their lives; raise awareness of the aspirations, needs and concerns of young people within government and the community; and facilitate interaction between young people, the ACT Government and the wider community.
YAC identifies a number of key priorities for their term. In 2018, YAC's work plan focuses on:
- Youth Employment - rights and opportunities: to achieve a fair and equitable employment industry for young people in Canberra, and to increase the knowledge young people have regarding their own rights and entitlements while at work. The sub committee worked with a graphic designer to design a postcard which YAC will distribute.
- Inclusive Sexual Health and Wellbeing: building a well-informed generation of young people who know their rights regarding their own bodies and how to be safe within all relationships. The sub committee partnered with Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT on this postcard project. It worked with a graphic designer to design a postcard, the final postcard is not yet available.
- Environment and Planning: to provide a voice for young people with a focus on safe enjoyable and accessible public spaces, a cleaner Canberra and planning for Canberra's future.
YAC will consult with young people across the ACT around what is needed to create a Youth-Friendly City in relation to urban design. The report will be provided to ACT Government directorates to use as a guide for future developments across Canberra.
In partnership with YAC representatives, the ACT Government continues to encourage engagement and participation of young people in the consultation process to address their priorities and deliver positive outcomes.
How is the ACT Progressing?
In 2016, data from the Australian Electoral Commission and Census data from the same year indicated that 87.5 per cent of Canberra young people aged 20-24 years were enrolled to vote. In March 2018, a total of 33,962 young people aged 16-24 years were enrolled to vote in the ACT. The number of 16-17 year olds who enrolled to vote prior to being of voting age was 767.
These numbers indicate that most young people in the ACT are engaged in the political process, at least to some extent.
Table 65: Electoral count by age groups and gender, 2018
Source: ACT Electoral Commission, March 2018. * Indeterminate = 'unspecified' gender.
Table 66: Number and proportion (%) of ACT population aged 20-24 years by electoral enrolment and Census data, December 2016
Enrolled to vote
% of total population
20-24 years olds
Source: ACT Electoral Commission, December 2016; ABS, 2016 Census.
The Community Services Directorate consulted with 269 young people aged 12-25 years from a broad range of cultural groups. A variety of methods were used, across five separate consultation processes, including forums, face-to-face consultations, meetings, online submissions and surveys.
Young people were asked to contribute their thoughts and opinions across a number of areas including matters relating to gender equity, youth week, urban development and planning, L and P plater reforms and the new ACT Carers Strategy. This enabled children and young people to contribute ideas and solutions on a broad range of issues that directly impact them, and effectively inform and be involved in government policy processes.
In addition, the Education Directorate undertook five separate consultation processes with more than 6,500 early childhood to college age students, from across the ACT education sector.
In February 2017, the ACT Government committed to having a broad conversation across the community to work towards the development of a ten-year education strategy. The commitment included engaging a wide range of people in the consultation and to hearing the voice of students. A diverse range of consultation methods (from video booths to graffiti walls in schools) were used to elicit feedback from students.
Approximately 2,200 ACT students, ranging from early childhood and primary school aged to college aged students, contributed to the consultation and the input drove and informed the development of the Future of Education Strategy released in August 2018.
The Schools for All Evaluation team undertook 23 focus groups in nine ACT Government, independent or Catholic schools. During May and June of 2018, 457 students from Years 8, 10 and 12 participated in the focus groups.
Six design workshops explored the conceptual service offering which will be delivered as part of the Continuum of Educational Support Model, Off Campus Flexible Learning Program. The workshops facilitated more than 60 learners in innovative and future-focused learning contexts.
Two Minister's Student Congresses, with two to four representatives from each ACT public school are held each year. They provided student voice directly to the Minister for Education through interactive workshops, interaction with the Minister and a written report.
Approximately 3,600 students, representing ACT public education, Catholic education and independent schools, were involved in the consultation for the development of the Ask Us...Student Voice in the ACT Resource Kit. The kit provides school leadership teams, education providers and teachers with resources to improve how they listen, consider and enact the opinions and recommendations of children and young people.
All ACT secondary school boards include two student representatives that have been elected by their fellow students. This provides another avenue for consultation with young people in the ACT.