Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) will launch a new action plan to improve the lives of young Victorians, #vicyouth2020, on Thursday 13 September 2018 at Broadford Youth Centre, 152 High Street, Broadford. The event will be held in collaboration with Mitchell Shire Council.

In the lead-up to the 2018 state election, YACVic has consulted with young people, their communities and youth support services around the state to develop #vicyouth2020. The result is a plan for a better future Victoria, where all young people get the right support when they need it, no matter where they live.

“A key focus of #vicyouth2020 is securing a better deal for young people who are growing up in rural and regional communities, and in the interface communities around the edges of Melbourne,” Leo Fieldgrass, YACVic CEO, said.

“Right now, too many young Victorians don’t have the support or opportunities they need. Many don’t think they have a trusted adult in their lives. To build the future our young people deserve, we need to act now. #vicyouth2020 is our plan for action. It will help our state’s leaders make the right choices for young people to live their best lives.” Mr Fieldgrass said.

Mitchell Shire is one of the fastest growing local government areas in Victoria and the community experiences limited access to human services, with residents frequently having to seek support outside of the municipality. Young people in Mitchell Shire are presenting with increasing rates of mental health issues, substance use and disengagement and withdrawal from formal education[1]. This aligns with research that shows young Victorians across the state are worried about coping with stress, school or study problems and depression.

Eighteen-year-old Lachlan Matthews, Mitchell Shire Youth Council Mayor, will join Leo Fieldgrass to speak at the #vicyouth2020 launch. Lachlan has courageously spoken out about his experience of mental illness, sexual abuse and family breakdown, and the difficulty in accessing support services due to distance and transport. Lachlan also studies at RMIT in Melbourne, and travels long distances each week to attend classes.

“Mitchell Shire Council has been working with our Youth Council representatives to highlight the positive difference that access to local support services and preventative programs can make in people’s lives.” Mitchell Shire Mayor, Cr Rhonda Sanderson said.

“Younger people in our urban and rural areas need access to local specialist services and they need access to good transport networks so they can get to these services.

“Initiatives like #vicyouth2020 highlight clear actions that government representatives, service providers and other support organisations can take to make a difference today and for the future.” Ms Sanderson said.

Further comment: Leo Fieldgrass – CEO, Youth Affairs Council Victoria – 0439 254 667 or

[1] Mitchell Shire Fact Sheet – Youth Mental Health.