Young Australians gather for the challenge of the 2015 National Youth Conference

Young Australians gather for the challenge of the 2015 National Youth Conference

Climate change, international relations, diplomacy and leadership for the 21st century are among the priority areas for the 2015 National Youth Conference, underway in Canberra this week.

More than 60 young people from around the country will come together during the event at the Australian National University to debate a range of contemporary national and international issues, as the newly-launched National Youth Council begins its work representing young people.

National Youth Conference organiser Jordan Kerr, with volunteer Carys Atkinson

National Youth Conference organiser Jordan Kerr, with volunteer Carys AtkinsonCredit:Graham Tidy

Conference organiser and council director Jordan Kerr said Canberra was the ideal meeting place for a challenging event giving young Australians the change to engage with the issues of today and provide their voice to government.

"The National Youth Council is also launching out of this particular event so what it develops will actually become the foundations for the new group over the next few years," he said.


"Everyone is excited and chatting away and looking forward to what the next few days hold."

Registration and early working sessions took place on Tuesday before recently- arrived British high commissioner to Australia Menna Rawlings gave the keynote address at the conference welcome dinner.

Representatives of the departments of Industry and Foreign Affairs and Trade will observe the conference proceedings this week.

Early on the agenda for Wednesday morning is a leadership seminar with presentations from community members and eight experts including ACT Children and Young People Minister Mick Gentleman and Australian Defence Force Chief Air Marshal Mark Binskin.

Delegates in the conference's five working groups will consider climate change and the environment, international relations and diplomacy, agriculture and sustainable development, science, technology and innovation, and a national youth task force.

"The different delegates have brought policies to Canberra, different pieces of policy they feel young people should be engaged with. They are going to spend the five days working on recommendations to government about how they can better develop policy to further effectively engage with young people," Mr Kerr, 20, said.

"We've got people who have come from remote Western Australia and from down in Tasmania, so it's a broad range of skills as well. We've got activist young people ... and people who are doing things like working with the Salvation Army or Beyond Blue. It's really bringing together a broad range of backgrounds for people to connect in one common environment."

The conference is being held as part of events to mark National Youth Week 2015, which runs from April 10-19.

Mr Kerr encouraged members of the public and other young people to follow the conference proceedings and ask questions via the Twitter hashtag #NYCCanberra.

For more information, visit

Tom McIlroy is a political reporter for the Financial Review in the federal press gallery at Parliament House.

Most Viewed in National