Reshape Our Future

Reshape Our Future is a 2-day youth sector conference, presented by YACVic from 11 – 12 August. Today’s generation of young people are facing uncertainty, inequity and unprecedented challenges. We need to take action now and Reshape Our Future.

Reshape Our Future was originally a hybrid event which would run both in-person and online at the same time across multiple locations, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, for the health and well-being of attendees, speakers, staff and the wider community, we have decided that the best way forward is to run Reshape Our Future’s 2-Day Youth Sector Conference as a 100% online event.

The online Reshape Our Future Youth Sector Conference will be delivered in an engaging and interactive way that facilitates connection and discussion in these difficult times, and allows for plenty of screen breaks.

With the feedback of young people, the Youth Forum will be postponed until COVID-19 restrictions allow us to run a safe in-person event. In the meantime, we will be running a free online event, 'Chill Out and Check In', on Friday 13 August from 11am to 1pm.

1. Current banner

View our final program

We've put together an incredible line-up of speakers featuring young people, global experts on youth participation, digital youth work and also the Minister for Youth Ros Spence.

View our full program!

Download an accessible Word document version of the program


  • Online - using HopIn

Youth Sector Conference - happening online!

The Youth Sector Conference brings together workers who support young people, policy-makers and thought leaders from multiple sectors, including young people, to discuss and address key challenges, build connections, and showcase the cutting-edge of youth work practice.

Register for the Youth Sector Conference

Youth Forum - postponed

The Youth Forum is entirely youth-led and youth-designed. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we reached out to the young people registered and other young people to gather their preferences and ideas on how the event should be adjusted, and have determined that we should run it in-person at a later date.

However, we understand that the latest lockdown has been difficult and many young people wanted to connect, so we will be running a free online event, Chill Out and Check In, on Friday 13 August from 11am to 1pm. Have engaging conversations, play interactive games, catch some music performances and make new friends across the state!

Register for Chill Out and Check In

Book Your Tickets Now

If you become a YACVic Member, you'll save 30% on tickets! Group tickets of six or more people will also save 20%.

Buy tickets for Youth Affairs Council Victoria

Book your ticket to the Sector Conference

Become a YACVic member to save on your ticket

Stand united with young people as we strive for justice and champion young people’s rights. We support young people and workers who support young people with advocacy, training and resources to help you make a difference.

If you’re not a YACVic member yet, you’ll save money by becoming a member and purchasing a member-priced ticket.

Become a YACVic Member here

Free Tickets and Support

If you are someone who often misses out on these events due to financial hardship, work, cultural safety, transport or other barriers, we want you to come to Reshape Our Future and we encourage you to apply for a free ticket to attend.

We are committed to ensuring a diverse group of young people and youth workers attend Reshape Our Future, and recognise the barriers that some communities face such as the ticket cost, event access, or cultural safety.

That's why we are offering free tickets to cover your ticket, transport and any other costs we can cover to make the event inclusive and safe for you. 

To apply for a free ticket, simply fill out this form.

If you have any questions, contact us at


YACVic takes access and inclusion seriously. We are committed to making every event as accessible as possible for all members of our community.

When you book your ticket, there is a list of accessibility needs which you can tick to ensure your needs are met. If you have an accessibility need that isn't listed, you can contact

If you have access needs, please let us know by 4 August 2021 to allow us enough time to book in the appropriate supports.

Download an accessible Word document version of the program

Download an access key for the online event

Acknowledgement of Country and Cultural Safety

We are committed to respecting this lore and creating a culturally safe event space.

Reshape Our Future will take place across the lands of the Aboriginal nations within Victoria and we pay our respects to Elders past and present. Bunjil’s lore states that those who walk on this land must care for the Country and waterways as well as for the children and young people. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land.

Code of Conduct

All participants, including attendees, speakers, staff and supervisors are expected to abide by our Code of Conduct during the event.

Contact Us

If you need further information, please contact

Commitment to Child Safety

YACVic is a child safe organisation. By attending these events, you agree to join us in our commitment to child safety

Meet Our Sponsors

Reshape Our Future is made possible thanks to the generous support of our partners and sponsors.

Principal Partner

 Victoria State Government logo bottle green

Regional and Session Partners

Warrnambool City Council            HESTA Logo Industry LockUp RGB

spark logo

Youth Partners

GELLEN logo Colour Large         Richmond black

YWA logo

Media Partners

SYN Student Youth Network Media Logo

Conference Program

  • Wednesday 11 August

    Each session of the Conference is connected state-wide. Attendees can participate in Q&As and table discussions. For more information, visit our FAQ page.

  • 8:30am: Conference Space Open on Hopin

    Explore the Conference program and expo site.

  • 9:00am: Networking

    Catch up with colleagues and peers before the Conference sessions start.

  • 9:30am: Conference Opening
    • Welcome to Country

    • Welcome by Kerrie Loveless (she/her) - Deputy Chair, YACVic

    Youth Loop: Video montage of a young person from each Conference location sharing insights about their region.

    • Melbourne: Natarsha Napanagka Bamblett (she/her) – 26-year-old Yorta/Bangerang, Warlpiri, Wuradjeri and Kurnai woman, multi-business owner, mum, facilitator, speaker, performer and mentor

    • Lakes Entrance: Brodie Pyle (he/him) – 13-year-old comedian, creator of Gippsland Promotions

    • Mildura: Breanna Macfarlane (she/her) – 25-year-old mother and strong advocate for rural and regional young people

    • Wangaratta: Steph Grant (she/her) – Advocate and Student

    • Warrnambool: Cassandra Prigg (she/her) – activist and student

    • Program Overview by Katherine Ellis (she/her) - CEO, YACVic

  • 10:00am: Young People are Reshaping Our Future

    Young people are more active than ever in their communities across global movements. How is it that they do not have a more prominent role in decision-making on urgent issues?

    • Moderator: Andrew Leap (he/him) – Student Voice Advocate & Member, VicHealth Reimagining Young People’s Futures Youth Steering Group

    • Dr Harry Shier (he/him) – Writer, researcher and global expert on young people’s rights and participation

    • Bryce Taylor (he/him) – Participation & Development Officer, Koorie Youth Council

    • Amy Chu (she/her), Youth Ambassador, and Catherine Maine (she/her), Youth and Family Services Team – ‘Youth United Against Family Violence’ initiative, City of Greater Dandenong

    • Thanked by: Heather Morecroft (she/her) - Senior Strategic Advisor, Spark Strategy

    This session is sponsored by Spark Strategy

  • 11:00am: Break and Networking

    Networking with NZ Youth Workers: Online networking with youth practitioners in New Zealand at the concurrent INVOLVE Conference.

  • 12:00pm: Bright Spot 1 – Victorian Government Youth Strategy

    Update on the progress of the Victorian Government’s new Youth Strategy, due for launch later this year.

    • Hon Ros Spence MP (she/her) – Minister for Youth

    • Gerry Goswell (she/her) – Director, Office for Youth, Victorian Government

    • Otis Heffernan-Wooden (he/him) & Tom Saxton (he/him)  – Youth Congress members, Victorian Government

  • 12:45pm:

    Short break and transition to new Zooms for next session

  • 1:00pm: Parallel Sessions

    Parallel 1: Identity and Intersectionality

    People and politics seem more divided than ever. How can we empower diverse young people to participate in and build a more connected society?

    • Moderator/Speaker: Hang Vo (she/her) – CEO, Whitelion, and Chair, the Victorian Pride Centre

    • April Goldring (she/her) – Rainbow Program Leading Aboriginal Mentor and Facilitator Mentor and Facilitator, Strong Brother, Strong Sister

    • Swathi Shanmukhasundaram (she/her) – ABC Takeover, & Co-founder, The Vermillion Project

    • Matthew Bowden (he/they) - Consultant and former CEO, People with Disabilities Australia

    Parallel 2: The Future for Mental Health – Making Reform Real

    Bushfires, pandemic and recession over the past two years have put even more intense pressure on the mental health of young people and those working with them. At the same time, the Royal Commission into Mental Health has presented a roadmap for the future of Victoria’s mental health system. As key stakeholders, how can young people and the youth sector contribute – state-wide and locally – to the successful implementation of the recommendations?

    State-wide Speakers:

    • Pam Anders (she/her) – CEO, Mental Health Reform Victoria

    • Natasha Ludowyk (she/her) – Researcher, Live4Life Evaluation Project, Ludowyk Evaluation

    • Han-Mari Cronje (she/her) and Kirsty Fealy (she/her) – Global Ambassador Program, Werribee headspace

    • Kirsty Fealy (she/her) – Global Ambassador Program, headspace Werribee

    • Moderator: Jen Rowan (she/her) – Youth Mental Health Working Group Member, YACVic

  • 2:00pm:

    Break and Networking

  • 2:30pm: Parallel Sessions

    Parallel 1: Young People Leading Peace and Connection

    Social media bubbles and identity politics try every day to divide us, and can lead to violence and exclusion. How are young people taking action to build social connection and respectful relationships, and how do we support them?

    • Lakshitha Saji Prelis (he/him) – Co-Chair, UN Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security, & Director, Children & Youth Programs, Search for Common Ground

    • Ofeira Satele (she/her) – Know Your Roots, Point of Difference Studio, Shepparton

    • Zoe Condliffe (she/her) – Founder, She's a Crowd

    • Moderator: Thomas Feng (he/him), Media & Communications Manager, YACVic

    Parallel 2: Young People in Disaster Recovery and Emergency Management

    In disasters, it’s vital to provide resources to specifically support and empower young people. Not only in the immediate aftermath, but also as part of ongoing recovery and rebuilding over several years. In the wake of the 2019/20 fires and COVID-19, how do we collectively ensure that young people have a central role in decision making? How do we ensure that they get dedicated and specific roles on local, state and national recovery committees, and other advisory bodies?

    • Sue Jamieson (she/her) - Acting Executive Director - Recovery & Engagement Operations, Bushfire Recovery Victoria

    • Dr Fiona MacDonald (she/her) – Senior Research Fellow, ISILC, Victoria University, & Research/Project Coordinator – Youth Perceptions of Bushfire Response, YACVic

    • Chris (she/her) – Combienbar Rural Activator

    • Willow (she/her) – Bairnsdale Rural Activator

    • Quin O’Bran (she/her) – Member, Bushfire Youth Working Group, YACVic Rural

    • Moderator: Carla Hall (she/her) – Rural Youth Projects Coordinator, YACVic

  • 3:30pm:

    Break & transition to new Zooms for next session

  • 3:45pm: Bright Spot 2 – What We Wish You’d Do

    Three young activists speak on urgent issues, encouraging better allyship from the youth sector.

    • Cindy Liu (she/her) – COVID-19 Youth Working Group, Youth Disability Advocacy Service

    • Tim Lo Surdo (he/him) – Founder & National Director, Democracy in Colour

    • Angie Judd (she/her) - Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC)

    • Introduced by: Tyson Harris (he/him) – Businesss Relationship Manager, HESTA

    Session sponsored by HESTA Superannuation.

  • 4:30pm: Close Sector Conference Day A

    End-of-day reflections and feedback.

  • Thursday 12 August

    Each session of the Conference is connected state-wide. Attendees can participate in Q&As and table discussions. For more information, visit our FAQ page.

  • 8:30am: Conference Space Open on Hopin

    Explore the Conference program and expo site.

  • 9:00am: Networking

    Catch up with colleagues and peers before the Conference sessions start.

  • 9:30am: Welcome & Connection
    • Acknowledgement of Country by Natarsha Napanagka Bamblett (she/her) – 26-year-old Yorta/Bangerang, Warlpiri, Wuradjeri and Kurnai woman, multi-business owner, mum, facilitator, speaker, performer and mentor

    • Josh Bull MP (he/him) - Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Victorian Government

    • What gets you get up in the morning?
      Interactive reflection on working with/for young people. Led by Louisa Keck, Senior Facilitator, Reach Foundation.

  • 10:00am: Parallel Sessions

    Parallel 1: Ethical Youth Work Towards Social Justice

    The global pandemic has highlighted social injustice and inequality across the world, as well as closer to home. How should the Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector be updated for a safer and more equal society based on human rights? How do we include ChildSafe Standards and Reportable Conduct, social media, disability self-determination, and trans and gender diverse young people?

    • Moderator/Speaker: Dr Tim Corney (he/him) – Principal Fellow ISILC, Victoria University & Lead Author, Victorian Code of Ethical Conduct in Youth Work

    • Liana Buchanan (she/her) – Victorian Commissioner for Children & Young People

    • Lucy Thomas (she/they) – Co-founder, Project ROCKIT

    • Mija Gwyn (she/her) – Manager, Youth Disability Advocacy Service

    • Starlady (she/her) – Program Manager, Zoe Bell Gender Collective

    Parallel 2: Guaranteeing Decent Work for Young People

    Recessions impact young people disproportionately, both at the time and throughout the recovery. What needs to be done now and in the future to guarantee young people have access to suitable, safe and meaningful work?

    State-wide Speakers:

    • Mairead Lesman (she/her) – Acting Director, Young Workers Centre

    • Emma Cull (she/her) – Senior Manager Youth Service Development and Strategy, Brotherhood of St Laurence

    • Emma Linton (she/her) – 'How Work Works' project, Loddon Campaspe Region LLEN

    • Kate Roache (she/her) - Executive Officer, Beyond the Bell

    • Introduced by Sean Callanan (he/him) - Engagement and Strategy Manager, Human Services, McArthur

    Session sponsored by McArthur.

  • 11:15am: Break and Networking

    “How I F#%ked Up”: informal chat where experienced youth workers share stories of their mistakes, and what they learned. 

  • 12:15pm: Parallel Sessions

    Parallel 1: Young People and Youth Justice

    Young people who come into contact with the justice system are often facing complex difficulties. How can we work with young people to reduce re-offending? What are alternatives to the current system that will help keep young people and the community safe?

    • Moderator/Speaker: Laura Chipp (she/her) – Principal Lawyer / Prosecutor and Head of Specialist Children’s Court Prosecution Unit, Victoria Police

    • Angela Burt (she/her) - Palawa woman, Head of Programs, Korin Gamadji Institute, and PhD Candidate

    • Vincent Shin (he/him) – Lawyer and Youth Law Program Manager, WEstjustice

    • Mehri Vijdani (she/her) – Participants, Victoria Police South East Young & Emerging Community Leaders Program

    Lakes Entrance: Where Have All the Youth Workers in Rural Victoria Gone?

    With targeted programs, short-term funding, burnout and shift expectations, generalist youth workers seem to have all but disappeared in regional Victoria. Where are they? What gaps are being left? Should we, or can we, get them back?

    • Dr Karen Hart (she/her) – Senior Lecturer/Researcher & Course Chair of Youth Work and Community Development, Victoria University

    • Dr Fiona MacDonald (she/her) – Senior Research Fellow, ISILC, Victoria University, and Research/Project Coordinator, Youth Perceptions of Bushfire Response, YACVic

    Parallel 3: Sexual Health and Healthy Relationships for Young People

    We need to support young people to enjoy more equitable, respectful and safer relationships now and in their futures. How can we take a strengths-based, holistic approach to this, and build on work already underway?

    • Ange (Andrea) Davidson (she/her) – Sexual Health Nurse, Gateway Health

    • Jenny Walsh (she/her) – Relationships and Sexuality Education Consultant

    • Kyle Hayes (he/him) - Young mental health advocate, Live4Life

    • Sienna Gladstone (she/her) – VicSRC Executive Member and Warrnambool student 

    • Moderator: Derm Ryan (he/him) - Rural Manager, YACVic

  • 1:15pm: Break and Networking/Consultation

    YACVic CEO consultation with Victorian youth workers

  • 2:15pm: Technology and Innovation in Youth Work

    Has the use of technology in the past 12 months taught us how we can build more accessible environments? What are the digital innovations that are enriching youth work and youth participation? What can we learn from global experts and local practitioners?

    • Juha Kiviniemi (he/him)– Centre of Expertise for Digital Youth Work, Verke, Finland

    • Elizabeth Smith (she/her) – Program Coordinator, Broadening Horizons Gippsland

    • Jason McCurry (he/him) – Youth leadership and Development Officer, Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA)

    • Moderator: Sam Champion (he/him) – Participation & Development Manager, YACVic

  • 3:15pm: Bright Spot 3 – What’s Coming Over the Horizon?

    Three future thinkers share what they see coming for young people and their lives.

    • Sonia Arakkal (she/her) – Co-founder, Think Forward

    • VicHealth Representatives: Claire O'Brien (she/her), 'Reimagining Young People's Futures' project, and Melanie Fineberg (she/her), Manager of Social Marketing & Communications

    • Levi McKenzie-Kirkbright (he/him) - Gadigal and Youin man, software engineer, student

  • 4:00pm: Thanks & Close

    Closing message by Katherine Ellis (she/her) - CEO, YACVic

  • Friday 13 August

    The Youth Forum will be postponed until we can run a COVD-safe, in-person event.

    We will now be running a free online event, Chill Out and Check In, for young people in Victoria on Friday 13 August.

Reshape Our Future: Meet Some of Our Speakers

RS Headshot

Minister Ros Spence (she/her)

Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Community Sport and Youth

Photo 2018 17

Liana Buchanan (she/her)

Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People

Tim Lo Surdo 2

Tim Lo Surdo (he/him)

Founder and National Director of Democracy in Colour

Natarsha headshot2

Natarsha Napanagka Bamblett (she/her)

Dreamtime Association Founder, Facilitator, Speaker and Mentor

Lucy Thomas 2

Lucy Thomas (she/they)

Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Project Rockit

Harry Shier headshot

Harry Shier (he/him)

Global expert in youth rights, participation, and play

Lakshitha Saji Prelis

Lakshitha Saji Prelis (he/him)

Co-Chair, Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security & Director, Children & Youth Programs, Search for Common Ground

Headshot Juha 01

Juha Kiviniemi  (he/him)

Centre for Expertise in Digital Youth Work, Finland