Parra Youth Matters is a project which will include Australia's first ever Youth Jury to be held in Parramatta in July 2003. It will bring together 16- 20 randomly selected young people (typically 16- 17 years ) from the Parramatta area. Adapted from the 'adult' focused Citizens' Juries, this project will provide youth with an unparalleled opportunity to identify issues that concern them most, and contribute to decisions that ultimately impact on their lives. In this way, youths will be acknowledged as being an integral part of the broader community, and will be exposed to differing views on issues of importance to society through a process of deliberation. Having interacted with a diverse group of key local stakeholders, the Jury will produce recommendations for the consideration of decision makers.
This is a 'youth for youth' project with the project team being made up of undergraduate students trained in the theory and practice of community consultation. The team is supported by academic experts with an extensive network of professional contacts in the community consultation sector in Australian and overseas. Dr Lyn Carson, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney, manages the team. The jury is considered to be an important step in recognising public involvement in deliberative democracy as an invaluable component of the decision making process. It is an innovative consultation event designed to give the youth of our community an opportunity to express their view on confronting political issues'.
The University of Sydney and Southern Cross University
The project is being run by the School of Economics and Political Science at the University of Sydney, which was the recipient of an international award in 2001 from the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2). The project is also supported by Southern Cross University, Lismore (Dr Carson's former university), which has also experimented with citizens' juries as a teaching strategy and as a method for decision making in the University itself.
Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
Parra Youth Matters is proudly supported by the Commonwealth Government Living in Harmony initiative. Administered by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, the Living in Harmony initiative aims to promote community harmony. It recognises that, whatever our backgrounds and beliefs, we are united as Australian and want to live in a country that is free of racial intolerance and demonstrates the Commonwealth Government's serious commitment to promoting community harmony.
For more information on the Living in Harmony initiative, visit www.immi.gov.au/harmony
The Catchphrase and our Logo
Parra Youth Matters, in coordinating youth to have their voices heard, strongly believes in these same concepts. Through "talkin' culture, thinkin' youth", this project aims to encourage deliberation and greater understanding and tolerance between people in their communities. Parra Youth Matters is coordinated by students, themselves aware of the benefits of deliberation. These benefits are often embodied in the participants desire to raise their hands in the air, signifying their joy and satisfaction that such an experience has given them. This project aims to give the youth of Parramatta the same feelings of accomplishment. Our commitment to this pledge is represented in our Parra Youth Matters logo.