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Guthoo Youth Summit: a voice for Aboriginal youth in Kalgoorlie-Boulder


Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adults and youth sit and stand in a large ochre coloured room, talking with each other. They are divided into two groups each with a whiteboard at which an individual stands and captures discussion points.
Discussing challenges and workshopping solutions (Photo courtesy of Nic Duncan)
9 Nov 2017

Providing youth in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area with a voice in the community and the chance for leaders to drive change was the basis of the Guthoo Youth Summit.

A 2016 survey of youth in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region of Western Australia revealed they were feeling unsafe, bored, disengaged and isolated from the wider community.

The summit, held on 6 October 2017, was an interactive community event with youth workshops early in the day followed by presentations to the broader community in the evening.

Held in the Goldfields Art Centre in Kalgoorlie, the forum was an opportunity for youth to share their experiences and aspirations with the community. It was also a chance to discuss the challenges they face and find solutions with the help of community leaders.

Mr Aubrey Lynch, an Elder of the community, said the summit went well.

‘The youth were keen to have their say and ready to move forward,’ Aubrey said.

A campfire event was held in the Karkula Bushland Park the night before. The Goldfields Land and Sea Council Rangers supported the summit campfire. Attending were Minister Scullion, Hon Kyle McGinn MLA (representing the Hon Alannah MacTeirnan, Minister for Regional Development), John Bowler (Mayor City of Kalgoorlie Boulder), Superintendent Darryl Gaunt (WA Police) and Mrs Wendy Dimer (WA Department of Education).

A group of youth who hadn’t been part of the survey also attended and were supported by WA Police Youth Crime Intervention Officer’s Ben Gartner and Joanne Dean. Youth participants who engaged in the survey and summit process attended as well, supported by Cheryl Kickett-Tucker of Koya Aboriginal Corporation.

Group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adults and youth sit in a group in fading light with bushland in the background.
Listening to the sounds of youth in Karkula Bushland Park (Photo courtesy of Nic Duncan)

After a Welcome to Country by Mr Lynch, adults mingled with the young people, engaging in one on one conversations, while eating a campfire cooked meal.

‘I particularly appreciated the time Minister Scullion and other senior leaders spent with youth and the broader community over the period of the summit,’ Mr Lynch said.

As the sun set, adults and youth alike cooked marshmallows over the campfire and conversation continued under a full moon.

Following the summit, key federal, state and local decision makers discussed the learnings from the event and the best way forward at a Working Breakfast Roundtable.

They agreed the summit provided the guiding principles to strengthen the design and delivery of youth services in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Leaders resolved to invest more resources in youth, youth spaces and youth services so they can achieve their aspirations. Leaders also wanted to ensure that youth understand their opinions had an impact and their voices were heard.

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The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet supported the Guthoo Youth Summit under a two phased approach. Initial funding was provided for the design of the youth survey and survey tool. Funding was then provided for the survey itself and summit. Both phases were funded through the Safety and Wellbeing program.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet hosted the campfire event and Working Breakfast Roundtable.

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