I rise today to acknowledge the voices of young people in Jagajaga and to reassure them that their voices are being heard in this parliament and by our government. I’m very conscious that, for many young people, federal parliament can feel like it’s a long, long way away from their concerns. That’s why I thought it was important to host a youth forum in my community last week to bridge some of that divide. It was so good to have our youth minister, Anne Aly, attend the forum and explain how our government is making sure the views of our young people are part of our policy making. It was important for the minister and I to hear about what is important to young people in Jagajaga at the moment, and that includes cost of living, rising rents, access to and affordability of higher education, access to mental health care, and the Voice to Parliament.
Separately, I want to acknowledge the advocacy of young people from the Somali community in Jagajaga, who previously told me there was a huge need for mental health support but it wasn’t being met. Thank you to Assistant Minister for Mental Health Emma McBride for coming to meet directly with these young people and hear their suggestions for culturally appropriate, locally accessible mental health services. The young people of Jagajaga are wonderful advocates for their futures and for the future of our community. I want them to know that I am listening, our government is listening, our ministers are listening and we will continue to work with them to deliver a better future for them and for our entire community.