OPINION

UNICEF Australia Ambassador Amber Anderson says what's important for her in the 2022 federal election

Ambassador: Margaret River resident and UNICEF Australia ambassador Amber Anderson. Picture: supplied.
Ambassador: Margaret River resident and UNICEF Australia ambassador Amber Anderson. Picture: supplied.

With days to go until Australia votes, it is important now more than ever to raise the voices of young Australians.

Young people are impacted by the decisions our governments make but our views are often dismissed because of our age or assumptions that we don't understand the big issues.

Growing up in Margaret River, I spent my childhood enjoying our beautiful beaches and bushland.

I remember being in primary school and hearing adults discussing topics such as the potential establishment of a coal mine, infrastructure and internet issues, or the response to the 2011 bushfires.

But because I was a child, I didn't know how to make my opinion heard, even though these issues directly impacted me, my family and my community.

Now as a 22-year-old, I want to help raise the voices of other young West Australians - especially in rural and remote areas - who may feel unheard or unrepresented by politicians in Canberra.

As one of UNICEF Australia's Young Ambassadors, we're calling on the successful government to set up a National Youth Advisory Council to give young people a platform to work with the Federal Government on issues directly impacting us.

This will be an important channel for young people from all walks of life across Australia to contribute to discussions on issues such as the climate crisis, mental health support, and access to quality education.

Growing up in the South-West, the issues I am passionate about are internet connectivity in the regions and addressing climate change to protect our unique biodiversity hotspots.

These issues may differ for a young person living in Sydney, even though we share similar pressures such as the rising cost of living.

Young people often lack ways to communicate their unique perspectives to politicians.

If we want to create engaged voters, leaders must listen to young people and involve them in the decision-making process in a consistent and meaningful way.

Young Australians see things from a different perspective, have great ideas, and are the leaders of the future - and we want to have a say now.

Amber Anderson is a young West Australian and UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador.