Local students inspired to be leaders during BYAC

Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services and Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth joined Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP as part of the most recent Bonner Youth Advisory Council (BYAC).

The Zoom meeting saw four year 11 and 12 students representing Moreton Bay College, Redeemer Lutheran College and Churchie hear from Mr Vasta and Mr Howarth on the importance of leadership as well as Mr Howarth’s assistant ministerial duties.

Mr Vasta said BYAC was not only about giving local students a platform to have their voices and opinions heard, but to also provide insight on the inner workings of the Government.

“The last 18 months hasn’t been easy for our students, from lockdowns impacting their studies to the cancellation of extracurricular activities like sport and music, but they continue to step up and tackle all the obstacles that come their way,” said Mr Vasta.

“Our local students are natural born leaders and that was so clearly demonstrated by those participating in this BYAC meeting. Luke was able to encourage them, reminding the students that being a voice for change doesn’t just have to happen in the walls of Parliament House, it can happen amongst your school peers, your friends and your family.”

“I was very proud of these students who were eager to participate in conversation and raise the issues that are important to them right now, including topics such as social media and the environment.”

Mr Howarth said, “Being a guest as part of this BYAC was a privilege. It was a powerful reminder of the importance of investing in the potential of our young people.

“What goes hand in hand with being a good leader is listening and recognising the value of new ideas. I strongly encourage these students and their peers to keep speaking up and being advocates for positive change.”

“BYAC participants can be chosen by their school or they can self-nominate for the chance to be the youth voice of their peers,” Mr Vasta said.

If you would like to be part of the 2021 BYAC, contact your school and email your nomination to ross.vasta.mp@aph.gov.au.

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Support for locals in need highlighted for National Homelessness Week

Local homelessness support groups have received a generous donation thanks to the Bonner Winter Essentials Appeal to help them continue their great work helping vulnerable locals.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP was joined by the Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services Luke Howarth on Friday to deliver the donated goods as part of National Homelessness Week.

Over the past six weeks Mr Vasta has been collecting blankets, non-perishables and hygiene products to support local organisations that do so much for the community.

“The Morrison government provides more than $1.5 billion per year to states and territories through the National Housing and Homelessness agreement, I am always committed to going the extra mile to help local families, which is why I started the Bonner Winter Essentials Drive.

“On any given night in my electorate of Bonner there’s more than 360 locals experiencing homelessness and as our community continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to extend an extra helping hand to as many locals as possible,” Mr Vasta said.

Mr Vasta said delivering the donated goods with Assistant Minister Howarth provided a great opportunity to hear from local frontline organisations and gives them the chance to speak directly to the Assistant Minister about their experiences during the pandemic.

Assistant Minister Howarth said National Homelessness Week was an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on the hardships faced by members of the community.

“Homelessness can affect anyone and any time and has a profound impact on those who experience it,” Assistant Minister Howarth said.

“It’s important to remember that Homelessness isn’t just rough sleepers on the street, it can often be hidden, and the majority of Australia’s homelessness is made up of people living in boarding houses, couch surfing or living in overcrowded homes.

“While state and territory governments have primary responsibility for housing and homelessness, the Morrison Government provides $6 billion each year to assist people to pay their rent and improve housing and homelessness outcomes in Australia.

“The Government is also investing up to $118 million over five years through the Reconnect program to support people aged 12 to 18 years (or 12 to 21 years for newly-arrived youth) who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and their families.

“The Reconnect program helps more than 1,500 young Queenslanders each year to stay at school, improve relationships with their family and remain connected with their community and often prevents young people from entering into homelessness,” Assistant Minister Howarth said.

Assistant Minister Howarth said during National Homelessness Week it’s important for people to understand that each one of us can make a difference by getting involved and supporting local community organisations, just as Mr Vasta had done through the Bonner Winter Essentials Drive.

“Donating blankets, food or clothing or volunteering your time can make a difference to someone who is doing it tough.”

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