The Department of Communities provides advice and information to local governments about how to engage with young people. Establishing a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is one way local governments can engage with young people on local matters.
A YAC is a group of young people that actively advises its local government and council on matters relating to young people. This may include youth events, activities and consultations on youth services and facilities.
YACs can operate formally or informally and usually meet once a month. The records of each meeting are shared with the local government. Local government officers or council members may wish to attend YAC meetings.
The role of a YAC member usually includes:
- representing the views of young people to local government
- developing and organising activities and events for local young people
- encouraging greater participation of young people in community initiatives, and
- helping distribute information to young people and the wider community.
YACs provide young people with:
- a means of coming together to generate ideas and make decisions about matters that affect young people
- developmental opportunities through learning about their local community
- a means of engaging with local governments on local matters, and
- an opportunity to meet new people, participate in activities and projects and develop funding applications.
Forming a YAC
A local government, council or a group of young people can make a decision to establish a YAC. Young people aged 12 to 25 years can join a YAC in their local government area, though parental approval may be required for under 18s.
The local government youth development officer or a similar role generally mentors and/or facilitates the group. A YAC may appoint a chairperson who can represent the group in meetings with a local government or council, or to lead consultations with other young people.
A chairperson may also take minutes, provide activity reports and recommendations back to a local government or council as well as develop links with schools, youth organisations, tertiary institutions, community and sporting clubs and other organisations that work with young people. A chairperson may also decide to share these responsibilities between members of the YAC. A YAC may establish small working groups to action a specific project or issue. A local government may assist in providing a venue for YAC meetings and also offer training opportunities and administrative support.