Engaging with young people

We are strengthening our relationship with young people and listening to their views on the environment, to identify ways they can be involved in our work to protect the environment and to increase their understanding of our programs.

To achieve this, we have created an Environment Youth Advisory Council and we are developing a Youth Engagement Strategy to outline our principals and objectives for engaging with young people and key initiatives for us to listen to their views and involve them in our work. We expect to release the strategy in the second half of 2022.

Environment Youth Advisory Council

We have established an Environment Youth Advisory Council to seek input from young people aged 15-22 years on a range of environmental issues and to hear their views to help inform our Youth Engagement Strategy.

The youth council will help build an understanding of our programs and create opportunities to listen to young people.

The objectives of the council are to

  • Gain insights into the opinions of young people in NSW to ensure the EPA’s policies and programs genuinely consider the perspectives and impacts on young people
  • Provide members with a unique opportunity to learn about the role of the EPA and gain skills advising on policy, programs and social media content
  • Enable young people’s input to a broader EPA Youth Engagement Strategy
  • Share EPA education information with members

The Environment Youth Advisory Council consists of 12 members from all over NSW and represent a diversity of young people living in NSW. Our inaugural Council come from areas across NSW including the Northern Sydney, Western Sydney, inner Sydney, Blue Mountains, Young, Albury, Mudgee and Central Coast.

The council will meet three times a year, either online or in person, to discuss issues and provide advice and recommendations to the EPA on environmental issues, policies and projects that affect young people in NSW. 

Chevelle-Rose McCrohonChevelle-Rose McCrohon

Chevelle, aged 17, is from Mudgee, Central West NSW and identifies as non-binary and as a First Nations person. Chevelle has been a member of the Mid-Western Regional Youth Council since May 2022 and is most interested in climate change, behaviour change and legislation.


Emily RoseEmily Rose

Emily Rose, aged 14, is from Copacabana, Central Coast. She has been a member of her local surf lifesaving club since 2013, and has been a member of the Junior Lifesaver of the Year Youth Group since February 2022. Emily is most interested in water quality, waste management and behaviour change.


Evan AdemovicEvan Ademovic

Evan Ademovic, aged 19, is from Minchinbury, Western Sydney. He is studying Economics at Macquarie University, and has been a member of the Blacktown Council Youth Advisory Committee for 3 years. Evan is most interested in agriculture and grazing, industry and legislation.


Jaleel AlbafJaleel Albaf

Jaleel Albaf, aged 17, is from Young NSW. He is a high school student attending Young High School, and has been a member of the Young High School Leadership Team for 12 months. Jaleel is most interested in forestry, waste management and behaviour change.


Jasmine CookJasmine Cook 

Jasmine Cook, aged 17, is from Falconbridge, Blue Mountains. She is a high school student attending St Columba’s Catholic College, and has been a member of the Blue Mountains Youth Council for 18 months. Jasmine is most interested in climate change, behaviour change and legislation.


Jessica MuirJessica Muir

Jessica Muir, aged 17, is from Dee Why, Northern Sydney. She is a high school student and Vice-Captain attending Mater Maria Catholic College, and has also been a member of the Northern Beaches Youth Advisory Group for 12 months. Jess is most interested in waste management, climate change and behaviour change.


Lachie Carpenter

Lachie Carpenter, aged 16, is from Glenroy, Albury NSW. He is a high school student attending Xavier High School, and has been the Mayor of the Albury Youth Council for 5 months. Lachie is most interested in waste management, behaviour change and communications.


Lily-Anne ChapmanLily-Anne Chapman

Lily-Anne Chapman, aged 21, grew up in Broken Hill NSW and now lives in Stanmore, Sydney. She is a university student studying an Environmental Science degree at the University of New South Wales. Lily-Anne is most interested in water quality, biodiversity and climate change.


Lotte WeberLotte Weber

Lotte Weber, aged 19, is from Katoomba, Blue Mountains. She has been a member of the Blue Mountains City Youth Council for four years and is currently studying International Relations at the Australian National University. Lotte is most interested in industry, behaviour change and communication.


Nabilah Chowdhury

Nabilah Chowdhury, aged 18, is from Ashfield, Sydney, and can speak Bengali. She has been involved in various youth councils and groups such as Jane Goodal National Youth Leadership Council, Yatz leader Taronga Zoo, Australian Wildlife Society, Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, Junior Chamber International, UNYouth, School strike 4 climate, NSW Young Parliament, Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Nabilah is most interested in climate change, air pollution and conservation.


Nicholas ChambersNicholas Chambers

Nicholas Chambers, aged 19, is from Cromer, Northern Sydney. He is studying Environment and Law at Macquarie University, and is a member of the Northern Beaches Council Youth Advisory Group. Nick is most interested in waste management, climate change and legislation


Tamanna AnandTamanna Anand

Tamanna Anand, aged 16, is from Lidcombe, Sydney. She is a high school student attending Santa Sabina College, and has also been a member of the Strathfield Youth Group since the beginning of 2022. Tamanna is most interested in waste management, climate change and air pollution.


Environment Youth Advisory Council inaugural meeting summary – 29 June 2022 

Introduction from the Minister for Environment and Heritage, James Griffin

At the inaugural meeting the Minister for Environment and Heritage, James Griffin congratulated members on their position and outlined his vision for engaging with youth.

Introduction from Youth Advisory Council members 

Members introduced themselves to the Minister and shared their interest in the environment and being part of the Youth Advisory Council.

Overview of the EPA – A/CEO Carmen Dwyer

Members heard from the EPA’s A/CEO Carmen Dwyer, who explained the role of the EPA, as the lead environmental regulator and provided a background into the work we do to inform, involve and support stakeholders, business and community. Carmen also outlined key initiatives to reduce litter and waste, including Return and Earn and Love Food Hate Waste. Members had the opportunity to ask questions of the A/CEO and other members of the Executive.

Single use plastics bans presentation – EPA’s Kate Doutney

Members were presented an update on the NSW Governments program to ban single use plastics in NSW, including the banning of lights weight plastic bags from 1 June 2022 and further single use plastics planned to be banned from 1 November 2022.

Discussion and feedback on single use plastics

Members discussed the bans including how the EPA is educating business and community about the bans, the policy work involved in background to enable the bans, the alternatives for plastics and funding available for business innovation.

We heard the views of members on how the bans could be promoted amongst young people, including via channels such as social media and through influencers, online school news sites and university societies and groups. We also heard their views on items to be banned in the future including on banning fruit and vegetable bags, plastics and coffee cups.

Youth Engagement Strategy facilitated feedback session – EPA’s Clair Cameron

The meeting also provided the EPA with an opportunity to outline our plan for a Youth Engagement Strategy and gain members' insights to inform its development, including their key environmental interests and how they receive information and trusted sources of information.

The next meeting will be held face to face at the end of this year. We will be working with members to set a date and agenda. More information on this will be coming soon.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is committed to increasing engagement with children and young people. As part of this an Environment Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is being created.

1.    Objectives of the YAC

The objectives of the EPA YAC are to

  • Gain insights into the opinions of NSW young people to ensure the EPA’s policies and programs genuinely consider them
  • Provide participants a unique opportunity to learn about the role of the EPA and gain skills advising on policy, programs and social media content
  • Enable young people’s input to a broader EPA youth engagement strategy
  • Share EPA education information with participants

2.    Responsibilities of YAC members

YAC members have the following responsibilities

  • Attend and actively participate in meetings
  • Provide advice and make recommendations to the NSW EPA
  • Act in a professional and responsible manner

3.    Membership

Membership is through invitation after completion of a YAC Application Form, which will be assessed against an eligibility criterion (see section 4) by the Selection Panel (consisting of two EPA staff members and one person representing the Advocate for Children and Young People and one independent representative).

Applications is open to young people aged between 15 to 22 years, living in NSW. The Youth Advisory Council will consist of a maximum of 12 youth representatives.

Membership shall aim to include a broad range of young people from a range of ages, genders, cultural backgrounds and locations in NSW.

4.    Eligibility Criteria

The following eligibility criteria will apply to the selection of Youth Advisory Council members:

  • Applicant has an interest and understanding of environmental and sustainability issues (such as waste issues including single use plastics, food waste and fast fashion, water issues, climate change, sustainable development).
  • Applicant has the willingness to work in a team and participate in group discussions.
  • Applicant can demonstrate the ability to listen to others, be respectful of others’ opinions and be open to other ideas.
  • Applicant has a passion for representing young people’s voices in Government.
  • Applicants have the capacity and motivation to commit to the YAC for the required duration.

5.    Tenure and termination of membership

Members will be initially appointed for a year, with possibility of extension for a second year. Membership will cease if:

  • The member turns 24 years of age during their tenure.
  • The member fails to attend two meetings in a row.
  • The member behaves in a way that is contrary to the responsibilities of YAC Members detailed in Section 2.

6.    Sitting fees and expenses

The YAC will be established as a committee of the EPA and sitting fees will be paid to members. Members will receive $110 for a sitting for both online and in person meetings.

Should a member not attend a meeting, a stipend will not be paid. EPA will cover travel expenses to attend face to face meetings.

7.    Induction

Once elected, the YAC is to receive an induction into the role and its requirements. This will be an online meeting.

8.    Vacancies

A vacancy on the YAC shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment is made.

9.    YAC web portal

YAC members will have access to a private online portal where relevant information including meetings dates will be available.

10.  EPA Contact

The Youth Advisory Council will be supported by the NSW EPA Stakeholder Engagement Team. The primary contact is Katie Ritchie, engagement@epa.nsw.gov.au

11.  Media authority and consent

The YAC or its’ members have no delegated authority to make comments to the media on behalf of the EPA.

All members are to provide a written consent for the EPA to publish images. And must also gain consent to post any images or comments on their own social media.

12.  Meetings

12.1        Frequency of meetings

Participants will meet for an initial induction meeting online and then three times per year. One meeting will be online via Zoom, with the possibility of two meetings being in-person (depending on public health guidelines at the time).

12.2        Attendance at meetings

YAC members are expected to attend all meetings.

Should a member be unable to attend a meeting they must inform the EPA primary contact and provide a reason. If a member does not attend two meetings in a row, their membership will be automatically revoked.

12.3        Schedule of meetings 2022

The following schedule has been provided for YAC meetings. Dates will be provided to members at the first meeting.

Title

Date

Location

YAC induction

June 2022, 5.30pm-7pm

Online via Zoom

YAC meeting 1

June or July 2022

Online via Zoom

YAC meeting 2

November 2022

Face to face

YAC Meeting 3

Early 2023 TBC

Face to face or online

12.4        Meeting agendas

The NSW EPA team will set the agendas for Youth Advisory Council meetings in consultation with the council and circulate to members one week in advance of meetings.

12.5        Meeting Chair/facilitation

The NSW EPA or their contractors will chair/facilitate the Youth Advisory Council meetings.

12.6        Meeting notes and documents

All relevant meeting notes and documents will be housed on the Youth Advisory Council online portal.

13.  Review of the Terms of Reference

The YAC Terms of reference will be reviewed after the initial two years of the YAC