Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan) — My constituency question is for the Minister for Families and Children and Minister for Youth Affairs, the Honourable Jenny Mikakos.

The western metropolitan region of Melbourne is one of the fastest-growing regions of greater Melbourne, and young families with school-age children are a key demographic.

We know that community participation is an essential part of ensuring our suburbs thrive and that local volunteers play a vital role in this.

Can the Minister for Families and Children please provide me with information on what investment the Victorian government is making in my western metropolitan electorate to help promote volunteering and community participation among young people?

21 March 2017



The Minister for Youth Affairs: I am informed that a vast range of programs in the Youth Affairs portfolio support young people to actively participate and volunteer in their local community including in Melbourne’s growing western suburbs.

I can advise the member that more than $1.4 million is being invested in 2017 by the Andrews Labor Government in Youth Affairs programs across the member’s Western Metropolitan Region electorate.

Recently I visited the Jennings Street School in Laverton where I announced that the Andrews Labor Government is providing $4.46 million in funding to over 430 secondary schools across Victoria, providing young people with the opportunity to volunteer and get involved in their local communities in 2017 through the Advance program.

Advance uses an experiential learning model to support young people to stay engaged in education. This enables students to work on projects in partnership with local community organisations and complete class-based learning modules in project management, communication and community, and develop leadership, teamwork and problem solving skills.
In 2017, $680,750 will be allocated across 70 schools in the member’s Western Metropolitan Region electorate.

In addition to the Advance program, the FReeZA program provides young Victorians aged 12 to 25 the opportunity to enjoy music, artistic and recreational events in their local community. Events are fully supervised and drug, alcohol and smoke-free. Funding is provided to local governments and community organisations to support FReeZA committees of young people to plan and stage over 400 events each year. In 2017, seven organisations across the western metropolitan region will share in $163,200 in FReeZA funding.

The 2015-17 Engage! Program, comprising funding of $4.1 million per annum, continues to strengthen young people’s connections to their community, build their decision making skills and engage them in civic, social and economic activities. Eleven organisations in the western metropolitan region will receive a total of $425,000 in 2017.

Further to this, as part of the new $875,000 Aboriginal Youth Mentoring Program, $120,000 is being provided to Wayapa Wuurrk Aboriginal Wellness Foundation in Wyndham to deliver a mentoring program for young Aboriginal men.

The new Empower Youth program is also being delivered in areas experiencing social and economic disadvantage. Eight organisations – including in the western metropolitan region – will engage youth workers to provide intensive, coordinated support to young people to strengthen their health and wellbeing, their connection to community, their engagement in education and training and their pathways to employment. Two organisations in the western metropolitan region will receive a total of $229,999.

As part of National Youth Week: the biggest annual celebration of young people throughout Australia, funding from the Andrews Labor Government is also being provided to deliver events to 12 organisations in the western metropolitan region who will receive a total of $24,000.

I commend the member for his long held interest in community participation and volunteering opportunities for young people living in his electorate.