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Heywire 2020 – How do you want to change Australia?

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Group of 9 casually dressed Indigenous young adults stand on a black floor in front of three banners which display a logo and the word Heywire.
New ideas and new friends at ABC Heywire 2020
14 Feb 2020

Every year, the ABC brings approximately 50 regional and remote youth and young adults to Canberra for 5 days. It’s called Heywire and it’s been running since 1998.

The participants apply to join Heywire by sharing a story about themselves and their journey.

Chloe Bethune (17), a Yamatji Watjarri young woman from Sale, Victoria suffers from curvature of the spine (scoliosis).

‘My story was about my scoliosis and how after my surgery and after [almost] dying from a punctured bowel, I embraced leadership and culture and became a bigger person and flipped everything on to the bright side.’

On the first day of Heywire 2020, the participants shared their dreams on one theme: How do you want to change Australia?

After all dreams were written down and grouped around common themes, the participants formed groups based on their preferred theme.

Jade Cicak is a Barkindji woman from Menindee in NSW and Aboriginal artist who applied for Heywire for many reasons, but one in particular.

‘I wanted to let everyone know what’s going on in my hometown,’ Jade said.

‘Our river is completely dry. We have dead fish everywhere. It’s really sad.’

Jade was in the Green Book group along with Jivaughn Coaby, a Yawuru Nyigina young man from Broome, Western Australia.

‘Our project is to make an online interactive website for the young generation, such as primary schools, to help them get out of the classroom and into the environment to get familiar with their local area,’ Jivaughn said.

‘In 10 years’ time, I wish for kids just to walk around in their local environment and just point out stuff they’ve learned like their local, traditional way of saying animals and plants and stuff like that.’

Over the course of this week, the participants honed their ideas, gave them structure and developed presentations which they made in front of a large audience of supporters at the Australian Parliament House on Thursday.

There was no sense of competing groups at the presentation; just lots of cheers and clapping and whoops of encouragement.

Heywire isn’t just about ideas and projects to help the community. It’s also about making new friendships and appreciating issues of concern to others.

Jacob Yunupingu, a Yolgnu man from northeast Arnhem Land, who wants to play for Essendon in the AFL, talked about his favourite part of Heywire.

‘Getting to meet different people from everywhere and just seeing different things,’ Jacob said.

Jacob was part of the Skillin’ It group which wants to match skilful people with those who need their skills, via an online register.

The presentations were a huge success made by young people passionate about changing their world.

Personal ambition was on hold. A desire to serve others was the motivating force at Heywire 2020.

Coming up: a story about the Heywire 2020 Trailblazers.

Find out more

For more information, see Heywire Winners.

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