Want to be part of the Wollongong Youth Forum?

1. Nominating for Youth Forum

Open 30 January 2023

If you’re aged 12-17 and live in the Wollongong region, nominate yourself to run for the Youth Forum! Nominations open 29 May 2023, and close 21 July.

2. Campaigning for election

August – Mid September

Candidates will campaign from mid July until the election, with access to free media training, campaigning workshops, marketing tutorials and more. Candidates will each 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

11 – 15 September

The Youth Forum election is happening from 11 – 15 September 2023. Ballot boxes will be set up in high schools and community spaces across the Wollongong region. Young people aged 12-17 are eligible to vote. 

4. Term in Office

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



Frequently asked questions

What are the key dates?

  • 29 May 2023: Youth Forum nominations open
  • 21 July 2023: Youth Forum nominations close
  • 26 July 2023: Final list of candidates confirmed
  • Week of1 August 2023: Campaign period begins & candidate meet and greet (after school)
  • 11 – 15 September 2023: Wollongong Youth Forum Election Week
  • 17 September 2023: Announcement of election results
  • September 2023 school holidays: Youth Forum induction
  • 1 October 2023 – 30 September 2024: Youth Forum Term in Office

What suburbs and towns are in the Wollongong City Council area?

Check out a list of suburbs here and a map of the council area here.

How old do you have to be to get involved?

Nominations for the Wollongong Youth Forum are open to young people aged between 12 and 17 years of age (at the time of application) living in the Wollongong City Council area. You do not need to be an Australian citizen to nominate yourself.

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

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 Wollongong Youth Forum run?

The Youth Forum will decide their priorities based on issues identified by young people in Wollongong.

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 Forum 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 many spots are there on the Youth Forum?

There will be 12 spots available on the Youth Forum, split into wards. 

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

The Youth Forum will meet once a fortnight, alternating between in-person meetings at the Wollongong Youth 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).

If any Youth Forum members 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, the Youth Forum may have the chance to go to WCC meetings and other events, which will be decided as the Term in Office rolls out.

Will Youth Forum members be paid?

Youth Forum members 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 Forum work with the Wollongong City Councillors and Mayor?

The Youth Forum will have opportunities to meet with and provide recommendations to WCC 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 Forum 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 Forum members 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.

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.

Where and when will the election happen?

The election will be held over one week from 11 – 15 September 2023. Across the week, ballot boxes will be set up in high schools across the Wollongong region.

How does voting work?

Voting will be optional preferential to replicate the state government voting system.

Candidates will be split into wards to make sure the Youth Forum 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.

The Youth Forum 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 Forum member. A letter to your school can be provided on request.

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

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

The Young Mayors program works with young people aged 12 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 tahlia.azaria@fya.org.au or call FYA on (03) 7046 3837 to book a time to chat.

Got more questions?

During the nominations period, we’ll be coming to participating schools and community groups to tell you more about the Young Mayors program and how you can get involved.

In the meantime, if you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, get in touch.