Back to all programs

Young Mayors Mackay

A democratically elected council of young people aged 11-17 in the Mackay region.

Want to be part of the Mackay Youth Council?

1. Nominating for Youth Council

Open 30 January 2023

If you’re aged 11-17 and live in the Mackay region, nominate yourself to run for Youth Council! Nominations open 30 January 2023, and close 5 March. Check back for all the details and info pack in early 2023.

2. Campaigning for election

20 march -30 april

Candidates will campaign from 20 March until the election, with access to free media training, campaigning workshops, marketing tutorials and more. Candidates will each have a mentor, get 10 free campaign t-shirts and $100 for campaign materials. A Town Hall Meeting will give candidates the chance to hear from and speak with constituents. 

3. Election Week

1 – 5 May 2023

The Youth Council election is happening from 1 – 5 May 2023. Ballot boxes will be set up in high schools and community spaces across the Mackay region. Young people aged 11-17 are eligible to vote. Check back early in 2023 to find out if your school is involved.

4. Term in Office

The Youth Council will serve a 12-month term in office, delivering projects, campaigns and events based on a priority agenda developed together early in their term.



Information Pack

An info pack with everything you need to know to nominate for the Youth Council will be available in early 2023. Sign up here to find out when it lands

Frequently asked questions

What are the key dates?

  • 30 January 2023: Youth Council nominations open
  • 5 March 2023: Youth Council nominations close
  • 19 March 2023: Final list of candidates confirmed
  • 20 March 2023: Campaign period begins (workshops to support candidate campaigns held over five weeks)
  • 1 – 5 May 2023: Mackay Youth Council Election Week
  • 7 May 2023: Announcement of election results
  • 13, 14, 20 May 2023: Youth Council induction
  • 1 June 2023 – 31 May 2024: Youth Council Term in Office

What suburbs and towns are in the Mackay Regional Council area?

Check out a locality map here.

How old do you have to be to get involved?

Nominations for the Mackay Youth Council are open to young people aged between 11 and 17 years of age (at the time of application) living in the Mackay Regional Council area. You do not need to be an Australian citizen to nominate yourself.

Why can’t over 18s run for Youth Council?

Australian citizens aged 18 and over are eligible to vote in local, state and federal elections, and can nominate themselves to run for election to represent their constituents at all levels (and we encourage you to consider it!)

If you’re over 18 and want to be involved in the Young Mayors program in other ways, get in touch

We have paid opportunities available for young people to deliver presentations at schools, support other young people to nominate themselves, help coordinate Election Week, set up and manage voting centers, and count votes.

What type of projects and campaigns will the Mackay Youth Council run?

The Youth Council will decide their priorities based on issues identified by young people in Mackay.

The projects run by youth councils around the world have covered a range of issues, including: 

  • Campaigns for mental health, LGBTIQ+ equality, poverty reduction, sustainability, safety and tourism
  • Youth homelessness support projects
  • Lowering the age of travel concessions
  • New inclusive council programs for young people with disabilities
  • Forums that bring young people together with local, state, and federal decision makers
  • New sports competitions, music programs, and art exhibitions

During the Term in Office, the Youth Council will regularly consult with their constituents to make sure their work is meeting the needs of young people in the community. Consultation will happen in different ways, including through a mid-term Town Hall Meeting.

How often and where will the Youth Council meet, and what’s the time commitment?

Youth Council will meet once a fortnight, alternating between in-person meetings at the Jubilee Centre, and online via zoom. Meetings will be 1.5 to 2 hours on a weekday after school (day of the week to be confirmed).

We know transport can be tricky across Mackay. If any Youth Councillors can’t attend meetings because of transport, we’ll find a way to help – just let us know when you complete your nomination form.

As well as fortnightly meetings, Youth Council may have the chance to go to MRC meetings and other events, which will be decided as the Term in Office rolls out.

Will Youth Councillors be paid?

Youth Councillors will be paid a quarterly stipend of $250 ($1000 across the Term in Office) to recognise that costs might come up as a part of being involved (eg. transport).

Food will be provided for meetings with all dietary requirements catered to.

Does the Youth Council work with the Mackay Regional Councillors and Mayor?

The Youth Council will have opportunities to meet with and provide recommendations to MRC Councillors and the Mayor throughout their Term in Office.

What support will young people get?

Young people running for election will have access to workshops and mentoring to support their campaigns by Australia’s leading campaigners, journalists and civic leaders.

Candidates will also be given $100 to spend on campaign marketing materials and 10 t-shirts to design for their campaigns. To keep it equitable, candidates are not permitted to spend any other money or get in-kind support to advertise in their campaigns.

Once elected, the Youth Council will do a thorough induction, have access to a constantly updated resource library, and will be supported by a staff member based in the Council area.

Youth Councillors will be paid a quarterly stipend of $250 ($1000 across the Term in Office) to recognise that costs might come up as a part of being involved (eg. transport).

Does it cost anything to be involved?

The program is completely free to participate in.

How will the campaign process be managed to ensure it is respectful and equitable?

We are committed to this program being a safe, accessible opportunity for all young people.

All candidates will be asked to sign a code of conduct when they nominate themselves to run for Youth Council, based on the Human Rights Legal Framework.

Candidates will be given campaign support by FYA, and will not be allowed to use any personal funds or seek donations (cash or in-kind) for their campaigns. We want to make sure all young people, regardless of privilege, are on an equal playing field.

Can candidates use social media to promote campaigns?

Social media can be used for campaigns as freely available tools for promotion. Candidates can not run cash advertising on social media platforms.

A comprehensive set of child safeguarding policies underpin all of FYA’s work. In addition, a well-being plan tailored to the program in Mackay will be in place to ensure young people are using social media safely, with clear avenues for support should any incidents occur

Where and when will the election happen?

The election will be held over one week from 1 – 5 May 2023. Across the week, ballot boxes will be set up in high schools across the Mackay region. Check back early in 2023 to find out if your school is involved.

As well as schools, we’re interested in setting up ballot boxes in community spaces where young people visit, so that all young people aged 11-17 have the opportunity to vote; not just those who go to school. If you want to suggest a space, please get in touch.

How does voting work?

Voting will be optional preferential to replicate state and federal government voting systems.

Candidates will be split into wards to make sure the Youth Council is representative of all parts of the region. Young people aged 11-17 (inclusive) will be eligible to vote in their ward for the candidates running for election in that ward.

I won’t be at school during Election Week. How can I vote?

If you want your vote to count but your school isn’t participating in the program, you don’t go to school or you won’t be at school on the day the ballot boxes are there, please get in touch and we’ll arrange a voting alternative. 

Is the Young Mayors program a school activity?

No. Elections will be run at schools, but the Young Mayors program is not part of the curriculum.

Youth Council runs outside of school time, but it’s best to let your school know you’ll be getting involved either as a candidate, or as an elected youth councillor. A letter to your school can be provided on request.

On occasion, Youth Councillors may have the chance to get involved in activities that run during school hours, with advanced notice.

How did Young Mayors Mackay start?

Through the 1000 conversations consultation project, YOL1000, young people in Mackay told the Council they want to be part of decision-making in the community. It was suggested that a youth council be formed, beyond the Valley District Youth Council which supports young people in Pioneer Valley.

FYA came to Mackay in June 2022 to meet the Council, young people and community allies to talk about the Young Mayors Program, and then again in July 2022 to run a co-design session to shape the Young Mayors program with and for young people in Mackay.

The session was attended by 48 people, including 24 young people, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, councillors, Council’s Acting CEO, council staff, Traditional Owners, YOL1000 backbone members, other community stakeholders and FYA staff including the CEO.

The session led to the development of the program, tailored to young people in Mackay.

What safeguarding is in place for young people in the program?

The Young Mayors program works with young people aged 11 to 17 years. We recognise this program puts young people in the public spotlight, and this can create vulnerabilities.

A well-being plan tailored to each community is developed at the beginning of the program, based on a thorough co-design process undertaken with each local government area.

The well-being plan includes, but is not limited to specific actions and support available to keep young people safe, processes to report harm, and clarity on expectations young people can have of each other, partners involved and the general public.

FYA and our partners are required to have Working With Childrens’ Checks and adhere to a comprehensive set of safeguarding policies and legislative requirements.

What inclusion and accessibility support is available?

We are working hard to make every part of the program as accessible to as many people as possible. This includes using wheelchair accessible venues, having the option to provide Auslan Interpreters for events, providing single and gender neutral bathrooms, creating social scripts and maintaining COVID safety. 

We are committed to supporting all access requirements and welcome suggestions for any access needs not covered here. Please email Tahlia Azaria (she/her) at or call FYA on (03) 7046 3837 to book a time to chat.