Brunswick Youth Action Committee: forum

On Monday evening of this week I was very pleased to host a forum at the Brunswick town hall to discuss the rights of young workers. This forum was instigated by the Brunswick Youth Action Committee, which is made up of active young people from my electorate.

I invited young adults in my electorate to form the BYAC early this year, and it has met on a regular basis since then. The purpose of the committee is not only to act as a forum to convey issues of importance to young people in our area but also to help in the formation of youth and other related policies. So far, I think everyone involved has found the contributions to public debate very valuable.

One of the key themes raised early on by members of the group was the issue of rights and unfair experiences in the workplace, and they suggested a forum as an opportunity to share their experiences. The forum was an opportunity to voice an opinion about these issues and ask questions of union representatives on hand. I would like to thank Paul Sutton from United Voice and Jennifer O’Donnell-Pirisi from the Victorian Trades Hall Council for giving their time on the evening. There were some disturbing stories of unfair and unlawful treatment in the workplace. There were also disturbing indications that young people are unaware of their rights in the workplace, a situation that has been compounded by the outrageous axing of the JobWatch program by the Baillieu government.

I note the recent invitation from the Minister for Youth Affairs for expressions of interest in his ministerial advisory committee Involve, and I would urge the minister to include these issues of great importance in the terms of reference. I thank the members of the BYAC for their enthusiasm.

Hansard, 2011