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Northern Territory launches Youth Strategy Action Plan 2024-2027

Joseph Guenzler -

The Northern Territory Youth Strategy Action Plan 2024-2027 was unveiled this week, coinciding with the conclusion of NT Youth Week.

The Plan, which aims to enhance workforce access by providing clear paths for employment and education, prioritises the health, safety, and wellbeing of young people.

It is part of the NT government's Northern Territory Youth Strategy 2023-2033.

The Action plan marks the initial phase of a series of three to be developed throughout the 10-year duration of the Youth Strategy.

Barkindji and Ngiyampaa woman, Tahlia Biggs, serving as Program Director with the Northern Territory, highlighted how the program can positively impact Indigenous youth in the NT.

She explained that the Youth Parliament involves 25 individuals from across the territory crafting bills. 

"Out of the 25 places that we have for Youth Parliament, 12-13 of those young people will be Aboriginal," she said.

"So issues they are having within their communities and so they're working with us to come with ideas on how to fix that.

"We then transform it into a bill and they present that to Parliament house this year in June."

The Action Plan delineates seven key domains alongside priorities and actions.

These will steer and reinforce the Northern Territory Government's commitment to youth-oriented programs and services.

Focus areas include: improving access to services for young Territorians, including health, education and other community and support services; increasing opportunities for the achievements and contributions of young Territorians to be recognised throughout the community; boosting employment, training and education pathways for young Territorians transitioning from school; enhancing opportunities for youth voice to be captured in policy development and program delivery; and fostering cultural and social connections for Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse young people and building cultural competency of service providers.

Ms Biggs emphasised the importance of ensuring diverse representation in the program, beyond just those who excel in public speaking, to include young people with often unheard stories that reflect the complexities of their identity.

"A huge focus is going on making sure that the program representation looks like the NT," she said.

"That's it's not just the young people who are great public speakers and have a lot of confidence and can make the program look 'elite'.

"It's the young people with stories that are often unheard or untold and show all the complexities of their identity."

The Northern Territory Youth Strategy Action Plan 2024-2027 represents an effort to address the diverse needs and aspirations of young Territorians, aimed at laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and promising future.

Minister for Youth, Seniors and Equality Ngaree Ah Kit said the NT government is "focused on empowering our young Territorians and ensuring they have access to education, information, support and opportunities that will enable them to thrive".

"This first Action Plan outlines a range of initiatives and services to create a better future for young people, and is supported by a whole-of-government investment and effort in program and services responses," the Minister said.

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