Building upon the success of the FUSE conference, the Youth Arts Sector has been undertaking a round of advocacy and lobbying work both within NSW and with the Federal Government.
To position Youth Arts with the incoming Government, meetings were held with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPC), Department of Education, and Office of Youth. A series of meetings were held with DPC, which led to ATYP presenting with the Australia Council to an Interdepartmental Meeting (IDC) on the role that the Arts play in improving mental health. With the support of DPC, we were able to present to representatives of all Departments at once, including Treasury, Health and Education, as well as all other Departments. We will be following up with each of the Departments in the following weeks and months as they had some great suggestions about how the Arts could leverage financial support, particularly from the Health budget. Our work with Hawker Britton will be vital in us leveraging the IDC meeting.
This was also a high water mark for Youth Arts in that it organised a meeting of all government departments and was done in collaboration with the Australia Council for the Arts. In the leadup to this meeting and following on from Adrian Collette AM, CEO of the Australia Council for the Arts presenting at the FUSE conference, Adrian presented along with Fraser to the IDC. Plans are underway for a follow-up meeting together with the Federal Government.
Building upon the relationships that started at FUSE, Your Town, arguably the largest provider of services to young people in the country including running Kids Help Line, provided a message of support for the sector’s call to increase funding for Youth Arts due to its role in increasing the wellbeing of young people.
Alongside this work, contact has been made with the Federal Minister’s office to present them with the recommendations from the FUSE Conference. We were also invited to several key briefing meetings with the Minister for the Arts, The Hon. Tony Burke, as well as providing several briefing meetings with his staff. It was commented on how organised the Youth Arts Sector was due to so many of the sector signing onto the joint statement that was provided to the Government in advance of the release of the National Cultural Plan.
At the state level, following on from the FUSE Conference, the Minister for the Arts in NSW was briefed and provided with the joint statement from the Sector. Just this week a meeting was held with the Minister to push the case for funding for the Arts to increase the mental health and well-being of young people.
As part of the election in NSW, Youth Action, the peak of young people and the Youth Sector, Yfoundations, the peak of youth homelessness and MYAN NSW the network working with young people from CALD backgrounds, held an election forum to discuss issues for young people and the election. We had representatives from Labor, Liberals and Greens who presented their case to an audience of around 250 people. The event also had a panel of young people discussing what was pertinent to them. On the panel of young people were young people from the Arts Sector.
The organisations we worked with, now called the NSW Youth Alliance, put together 10 key asks for the incoming NSW Government. Part of the 10 key asks was a call for greater investment in Youth Arts. The event got a bit of coverage and the story was syndicated around the country through AAP.
All major parties were briefed on the 10 key points. We were very excited that now the entire Youth Sector has now taken up the call for Youth Arts developed at the FUSE conference.
We have been receiving a warm reception to the idea and the current Minister for the Arts said if they win he will work with us to brief the Department of Health and attend those meetings himself. The labour party was receptive and is looking to see what they can announce in advance of the election about increased funding to Youth Arts.
The Youth Sector advocacy team.