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Rural Victorian young people will be supported to lead local bushfire recovery efforts and future proof their communities.

A consortium led by Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is set to receive a $9.93 million, two-year Australian Government Black Summer Bushfire Recovery grant for ‘Future Proof: Young People, Disaster Recovery and (Re)building Communities’, to drive recovery outcomes for fire-affected young people and communities across eastern Victoria.

YACVic will coordinate this ambitious project, bringing together eight local councils, two Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), three Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs) and Victoria University.

“Young people and youth workers can play a critical role in disaster recovery and future proofing fire-affected communities,” says Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO. “This project will help bring the unique experiences, perspectives and capabilities of young people to the rebuilding of their communities.

“Future Proof recognises the importance of place-based activities and youth work principles to engage and connect young people, and support them in youth-led recovery projects and community decision-making.

“Future Proof will also include qualification pathways for 150 local young people to kickstart careers in emergency management and community services.”

For the past two years, in partnership with Bushfire Recovery Victoria and the Victorian Department of Education, YACVic has worked with young people in fire-affected areas to understand their experiences, collect their ideas for community recovery and resilience, and develop resources to facilitate young people’s seat at the table in disaster recovery. Read more about that work here.

Quinn Obran, a student who was born and raised in Corryong believes young people should be front and centre in disaster recovery.

“We will be inheriting everything after this so we should be involved. I am confident that the community would listen to us,” says Quinn.

This new and significant investment for the Future Proof project will go straight back to fire-affected communities, funding local youth workers and young peer workers to support youth-led activities, creation of local youth advisory groups, training for young people and youth workers, and a community of practice for workers to support and learn from each other.

Future Proof will support young people and services across Mansfield, Wellington, Towong, Indigo, Wodonga, Alpine, Wangaratta and East Gippsland local government areas.

Media Contact:  Katia Pellicciotta (she/her), YACVic Media and Communications Coordinator on 9267 3744 or KPellicciotta@YACVic.org.au

Katherine Ellis (she/her), YACVic CEO and Carla Hall (she/her), YACVic Rural Projects Co-ordinator is available for interviews. Quinn from Corryong is also available. 

About Youth Affairs Council Victoria

Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 and youth workers in Victoria. Our vision is that young people are active, visible and valued in their communities.