Queensland's corridors of power are set to resonate with new voices of young leaders today the first meeting of Queensland's Youth Engagement Panel gets underway during Queensland Youth Week.
Minister for Youth Di Farmer said the 11 member panel had been formed to involve young people in the design and shaping of government policies, programs and services impacting them.
"Government makes a lot of decisions which affect young people, which is why we think it's so important for young people to be involved in that decision making process," she said.
"Every one of our Youth Engagement Panel members brings remarkable energy and experience to the table and will hopefully take away from it some new skills and knowledge.
"I am looking forward to hearing what the panel members tell us is important to them, and to the young people they represent."
Ms Farmer said the panel would meet three times a year for the next two years to discuss solutions to the difficulties and complexities facing young Queenslanders.
As part of their role, panellists will be asked to design and deliver an annual project on a topic aligning with the Queensland Youth Strategy.
"Panellists have a unique opportunity to work together to improve outcomes, share views and test ideas on the issues that matter to the people each member represents", she said.
"The members will bring an invaluable set of views, skills and interests informed by their life experiences to the panel. I look forward to seeing the positive impact they will make."
At 17, panellist Ayoka Wong from Townsville is well placed to do just that, having already amassed a wealth of experience.
Last year Ayoka attended a United Nations Summit in New York City as the Australian representative for youth. Now in her first year studying medicine at James Cook University, Ayoka juggles academic studies, with work, family and a social life.
"I am extremely passionate about making sure youth have a say in our future," she said.
"I believe the biggest part of being on the panel is speaking on behalf of my peers.
"I'm not just representing myself, it's everyone else as well."
Ayoka said she was proud to be from a regional area and was focused on issues relating to health and wellbeing for rural and remote Queenslanders.
"If you want to make a change you have to start from the ground up and then build on that to make it more sustainable," she said.
At the first meeting, Ayoka will join fellow regional members Lane Brookes from Roma; Dominic McCarthy from Mackay and Alicia Channell from Toowoomba.
Across the Brisbane region, panellists include Nadia Saeed; Tasman Bain; Kate McLennan; Chantel Moody; Maddison Henaway; Camille Bowman and Jayden Parsons.
For more information visit https://www.qld.gov.au/youth/be-involved-have-your-say/qld-youth-strategy/youth-engagement-panel