Phil Thompson MP inspires during final BYAC

Member for Townsville Phil Thompson MP joined Ross Vasta MP for the final Bonner Youth Advisory Council (BYAC) Zoom of 2020 to offer inspiring insight into his journey from infantryman to parliamentarian.

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 their Government.

“We had a fantastic turnout for the final BYAC Zoom meeting of 2020 and I hope they encourage their fellow students to get involved next year,” Mr Vasta said.

“My BYAC guest was the Member for Townsville who spoke about his journey into public life following a career in the Australian Defence Force.

“If there’s one message Phil passed on, I felt resonated, was his views on leadership and standing up for something you believe in – in his words it’s about ‘taking the hard right instead of the easy wrong’.”

Mr Vasta said BYAC participants asked some great questions around mental health, how students like themselves could reach our and why Phil took on further studies after his military career.

“It’s always great to hear about the issues at the forefront of young people’s minds and how they feel about other matters,” Mr Vasta said.

“I look forward to continuing the BYAC into 2021 and nominations are now open for the Junior (years 5-6) and Senior (years 10-12) BYAC.”

For more information or to get involved, contact your school and email your nomination to

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Join the 2021 Bonner Youth Advisory Council

Students in Bonner can have their say on the issues important to them by taking part in the 2021 Bonner Youth Advisory Council (BYAC).

Launched in 2020, BYAC invites each high school in the electorate to select students to take part in the program, which provides young people the opportunity to meet with Mr Vasta and other community leaders.

“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.

“These are the future leaders of our country and we want to share and learn about the issues important to them.”

Mr Vasta said it was also a great opportunity for young people to learn about the role government’s play in their local community.

“The more they understand how the levels of government work and who is responsible for what, it provides them a clearer path on how to get involved, give feedback and influence change on the matters they care about,” Mr Vasta said.

“If you would like to be part of the 2021 BYAC, you can be nominated through your local high school or contact my office.”

Mr Vasta said BYAC members would have the opportunity to meet with different Members of Parliament and other community leaders to learn about the role they play, and share their feedback on important matters.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to have a voice and influence change,” Mr Vasta said.

Young people aged 15 – 17 can nominate for the BYAC by emailing

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BYAC talk waste and recycling

Cutting down on our waste footprint and improving recycling methods were the main topics of the first Bonner Youth Advisory Council (BYAC) meeting on Monday, June 22.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said each high school in his electorate was invited to select students to take part in the program, as a chance to be the youth voice of the region.

“The BYAC participants were chosen as future leaders and the youth voice for their school to discuss and share the issues that matter most to them,” Mr Vasta said.

“The first meeting was held on Monday via Zoom and our special guest was the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans.”

Mr Vasta said topics discussed included how young people could encourage others to cut down on their waste footprint, and how the Government could support young people to achieve a reduction in their waste footprint.

“We had some great questions including how we’ve improved recycling in Australian and what policies we’re looking at to keep going down the path of plastic free, like supermarkets have done,” Mr Vasta said.

“The BYAC meeting was also a great opportunity to learn more about the role Assistant Minister Evans plays in shaping this policy area and the students who took part really did a fantastic job asking questions.

“I also shared some insight on some of the great waste management programs already operating in Bonner, including the Ocean Crusaders bottle cap recycling scheme.

“The more young people learn about the role we play in the community, it provides them a greater opportunity to get involved, give feedback and influence change on the issues they care about.”

Mr Vasta said he wanted to congratulate everyone who took part in the BYAC Zoom meeting, and he looked forward to organising the next one.

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Today I rise to speak on a vital issue in my electorate: the issue of youth unemployment. I would like to address the effect of youth unemployment on the community, and what this Government is doing to help young people find and stay in work. I’d also like to mention a local organisation in Bonner that is doing fantastic work with young locals to help boost their job prospects.

I’m pleased to say the latest figures show unemployment is continuing to fall and jobs growth is on the rise under this Coalition Government. Over 50,000 more young Australians have found jobs in the last 18 months. This is a great accomplishment. However, there’s more to be done to address the barriers young people face to employment.

I’ve heard many heartbreaking stories from young jobseekers and their parents about the mental strain of searching for work for months on end. I want to assure my constituents the Government is tackling this issue head on.

This year the Government expanded on its existing youth employment initiatives, such as the Transition to Work service and Empowering YOUth Initiatives programme, by introducing the $840 million Youth Employment Package. A central part of this package is the Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) programme.

Youth Jobs PaTH will give thousands of young Australians a chance to get real work experience and a real job, through pre-employment government-funded skills training, internships lasting 4 to 12 weeks, and a Youth Bonus Wage Subsidy up to $10,000 for employers.

This programme presents a great opportunity for local youth and local businesses when it launches in April 2017. It will help young people be better prepared for the workplace and encourage more businesses to hire them. I’ve been happy to hear from local businesses interested in Youth Jobs PaTH and I encourage more businesses in my electorate to register online to participate and host an intern.

I’m proud that local businesses and groups in Bonner have already rallied to help disadvantaged youth find work. BABI Youth and Family Service is one outstanding local organisation that for years has been giving young people training and employment opportunities.

Recently BABI’s general manager Michelle McNamara shared with me a promising new social enterprise project that will involve the whole community to help vulnerable and disadvantaged young people find work. The two-year program would see BABI team up with local businesses and RTOs to deliver valuable counselling, training and work experience for young locals.

The program will address the barriers young people face getting into employment, from mental health issues to lack of transport. I’m proud to support this project and look forward to seeing it get off the ground.

BABI has serviced the Bayside and Redlands area for over 30 years. I commend them for their outstanding work and I wish them the best in their future work helping young people where they need it most. The Government will continue to support local youth employment programs like those run by BABI. I look forward to seeing Youth Jobs PaTH begin next year and seeing more positive employment outcomes for young people in my electorate.

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Nominate now for the 2015 National Youth Awards

Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, today encouraged young people in the community to nominate for the 2015 National Youth Awards.

“This is the third annual series of the Awards, which celebrate the achievements and contributions of young Australians aged 12 to 25,” Mr Vasta said.

“I urge those thinking about nominating to act now.”

Mr Vasta said it was important to celebrate the achievements of young people who are making a lasting, positive difference in their communities.

“Young Australians are doing this every day by volunteering in their local communities, and they deserve to be recognised for the valuable contribution they are making to their local communities,” Mr Vasta said.

“If you know a remarkable young Australian, I strongly encourage you to get involved by logging onto the National Youth Week website and nominating them.”

There are seven Award categories, six of which recognise individuals, and a media award that celebrates positive news reporting about young people in Australia. 

The Award categories are:

– Youth Safety Award;
– Youth Courage Award;
– Youth Culture and Diversity Award;
– Youth Employment Award;
– Youth Health Award;
– Youth Leadership Award; and
– Youth in Media Award. 

Each of the six individual category winners will receive $2,000, a trophy, and a certificate, while the winner of the Youth in Media Award will receive a trophy and certificate.

The Awards are for young people aged 12 to 25 (with the exception of the Youth in Media Award) and applicants can be self-nominated or nominated by someone else.

Applications for the 2015 National Youth Awards close on Thursday, 27 November 2014. 

More information on the National Youth Awards, including entry forms and details of past winners and finalists, is available at


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