Youth Councillor encourages others with disability to join the YAC

Julie Charlton is listening to someone off camera. She has a pen behind her ear.
Image: Julie Charlton, 2019 YAC member

Julie Charlton is a member of the 2019 Youth Advisory Council (YAC), which ensures the voices of children and young people between 0-24 years of age in NSW are heard.

20-year-old Julie is a member of the YAC and the Children and Young People with Disability Australia Council, and an athletics coach. She has spina bifida, and spoke to us about what young people with disability can gain from being part of the YAC.

How did you find out about the youth advisory council and what made you want to apply?

I found the ACYP youth advisory council through my high school at the time. I actually applied back in 2017 but couldn?t attend the recruitment day so I was determined to reapply and attend in 2018-19. I wanted to learn firsthand what the government is all about and I wanted to be a part of the decision making process for children and young people.

What does the youth advisory council do?

The YAC is the representative body of the 2.4 million children and young people who live in Australia. The council is a broad representation of children and young people who come together and make decisions that have been given to them by the NSW government and NSW departments. They also attend and facilitate conferences and functions such as Youth Week and Children?s Week.

What have been some of the highlights of your time in the program?

Some highlights of my experience have been attending and facilitating The Youth Week Conference, opening the My Local website and app, and attending the Melbourne Declaration of Education Conference in Melbourne.

What have you learned through being a part of it?

I have learned how different parts of government work, I have learned how to conduct a business meeting, how to facilitate a conference of 100+ people and many other amazing things.

Why would you encourage other students with disability to apply to be part of the council?

I would highly encourage students with a disability to apply for the council as it provides an opportunity for you to be an advocate for the children and young people with disability in NSW by hearing what they have to say and trying to implement a change. You can express your concerns surrounding disability openly and you can actually start to implement change you want to see.

Do you know a student with disability who would be a great fit for the council? Encourage them to learn more and submit an application for the 2020 council by 1 March.

The NSW Youth Advisory Council (YAC) plays an important role in advising the NSW Government on issues that are relevant to young people across the state, and is facilitated by the Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People.

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