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23 July 2019

SYDNEY, Tuesday 23 July 2019 – Applications to be one of the approximately 100 children and young people aged 14 to 24 years who will be active participants at UNICEF Australia’s NSW Youth Summit on Living with Drought are now open.

Supported by the NSW Government, the three day summit is the next step in improving our understanding of the impacts of drought on young people. It will also develop the scope and shape of responses they would like to see undertaken to assist and enhance their ability to cope with and prepare for these conditions into the future.

“Earlier this year, UNICEF Australia produced a report on the impacts of drought as told to us by children and young people in NSW,” said Tony Stuart, CEO of UNICEF Australia. “The report revealed how little is known about the experience of children and young people during drought, or about how best to support them in the face of these significant challenges.

“We initiated this project as part of our mandate to be a voice for children and, as part of our ongoing work consulting with children around Australia, it forms part of UNICEF Australia’s efforts to ensure a fair chance for every child.

“This summit will continue this approach by bringing together over 100 young people, with experience or expertise in issues relating to the drought, to actively participate in the formulation of solutions. Ultimately, on the final day, decision-makers and service providers will join the conversation.”

Throughout the summit, from planning and design by an 11-member youth steering committee, through to completion of the final report, UNICEF Australia will be working in partnership with young people from drought-affected regions throughout NSW.

One of the steering committee members, 15 year-old Kate Currans from western NSW, explained, “I am passionate about the future of agriculture and equality for all children in Australia. Rural and remote kids in ongoing drought-stricken areas miss out on so many opportunities. I would love to be part of contributing to solutions to the impact of this natural disaster on children and young adults.”

“Summit participants will hear from inspiring speakers, and take part in discussions, workshops and activities. They will work with others who share and understand their struggle, form new support networks and learn new tools and strategies to cope with the daily struggles of the drought. It will be an opportunity to connect, engage and reflect,” said Amy Lamoin, UNICEF Australia’s Head of Policy and Advocacy.

With the summit occurring during the development of the NSW Government’s Regional Youth Strategy, Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women, Bronnie Taylor said, “The NSW Youth Summit on Living with Drought is for young people, designed by young people. It’s about creating an opportunity for them to discuss the issues they care about. It will help to inform decision-making on the needs of children and young people living in regional NSW. I look forward to hearing about their ideas and hopes for future.”

Where and When:

The NSW Youth Drought Summit will be held at Point Wolstoncroft Sports and Recreation Centre, Lake Macquarie

From Wednesday 9 to Friday 11 October 2019.

Costs: Venue costs (including meals and activities) and travel costs to the will be covered. 

Applications close on Friday, 30 August at 11:59pm AEST.