Cairns Youth Council Kicks Off Inaugural Term

A dozen Cairns teenagers have been sworn in to represent local young people at Cairns Regional Council for the next 18 months.

The Cairns Youth Council is the country’s fourth democratically elected council and the second to be sworn in for Queensland.

A swearing in ceremony was held at Cairns Regional Council chambers yesterday (Wednesday) to mark the official start of the region’s inaugural Youth Council’s term in office.

In September and October last year, 24 young people campaigned for 12 youth council seats.

More than 3,500, young people aged 12 to 17 cast votes at 17 polling locations across the region.

The Cairns Youth Council is the result of Cairns Regional Council’s participation in the Young Mayors Program, a pilot program being delivered by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) in partnership with local Councils in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Cairns Regional Council CEO Mica Martin said the Youth Council would provide invaluable advice to the next group of Councillors.

“Council is keen to see young people actively contribute to Council’s decision-making processes and we’re excited to make that happen through the Cairns Youth Council,” she said.

“The Cairns Youth Council help our next group of Councillors make decisions with insights and input from the next generation of local leaders.”

Cairns Youth Councillor Sofia Hoorn, 16, said she wanted to be a voice for the younger generation.

“I applied for the position on the Youth Council because I believe that everyone has a story to tell if we take the time to listen,” she said.

“Campaigning showed me that I was valued within my community and that people listened to me when I spoke.”

Cairns Youth Councillor Aiden Senaratne, 15, said he was looking forward to making a positive impact.

“I have the chance to address issues that are of concern/affecting young people and work towards finding solutions,” he said.

“It’s a chance to represent the interests and concerns of my peers, and advocate for positive change. It is also a great way to connect and collaborate with a community of like-minded individuals, who are passionate about making a difference and are willing to share their ideas.”

FYA Acting Executive Director of Civic & Cultural Engagement, Tahlia Azaria, said young people want to take an active role in the decisions that impact their lives.

“The Cairns Youth Council have a mandate to represent the young voters who elected them, and now they’ve been sworn in, can start their important work,” she said. “With access to a $10,000 Youth Fund, the Cairns Youth Council will work together and with the Council to address their constituents’ priorities.”

The Cairns Youth Council will serve an 18-month term in office from February 2024 to July 2025. They will have a $10,000 budget to deliver their priority agenda.

Meet the Cairns Youth Council

  • Molly Ben Ezra, 15
  • Antoniji Dimitrijevic, 17
  • Yazmin Rivett, 15
  • Aiden Senaratne, 15
  • Sofia Hoorn, 16
  • Delilah Jedynak, 15
  • Lana Kandakji 15
  • Braydon McCormack, 14
  • Olivia Morris, 17
  • Sharmilla Butcher, 17
Far South:
  • Matt Seaton 15
  • Vince Torrisi, 15

/Public Release. View in full here.