Listening to the views of young people to help shape the work of the NSW EPA

NSW Environment Protection Authority

Creation of Environment Youth Advisory Council

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is committed to increasing engagement with children and young people to listen to their views on the environment and how they can be involved in the EPA’s work to protect the environment.

As part of this commitment, EPA engaged Cred to establish and host the first four meetings of its inaugural Environment Youth Advisory Council.

The objectives of the Environment Youth Advisory Council are to allow young people to voice their concerns directly to the Minister for the Environment and EPA Executive, in order to:

  • gain insights into the opinions of young people in NSW to ensure the EPA’s policies and programs genuinely consider the perspectives and impacts on young people
  • provide members with a unique opportunity to learn about the role of the EPA and gain skills advising on policy, programs and social media content
  • enable young people’s input to the new EPA Youth Engagement Strategy, and
  • share EPA education information with members so they can share with their networks.

How we did it

Cred’s role included developing an application form targeted towards young people in NSW, establishing a Council selection criteria, developing an assessment form, contacting local councils to aid recruitment, reviewing applications, and preparing the Council’s Terms of Reference.

We designed and delivered an induction for the newly selected members, and designed and facilitated the meetings of the Youth Advisory Council from November 2022 to date.

“Providing opportunities for young people to participate in decision making is so important,” says Cred’s Director, Jen Guice, of NSW EPA’s inaugural Environment Youth Advisory Council.

The Outcome

The Youth Advisory Council consists of 12 members aged 15-22 and represents a diversity of young people living in NSW, including members from Northern Sydney, Western Sydney, inner Sydney, Blue Mountains, Young, Albury, Mudgee and the Central Coast.

The council will meet three times a year, either online or in person, to discuss issues and provide advice and recommendations to the EPA on environmental issues, policies and projects that affect young people in NSW.

The first two meetings of the Youth Advisory Council were held in November 2022. The first meeting was held online, while the second meeting took place in November 2022 at NSW Parliament House. The Minister for the Environment, James Griffin MP, along with senior EPA staff, were in attendance at both.

The first face-to-face meeting focused on the EPA’s Climate Change Policy and Plan, its Partnerships Program, and involved a discussion around the EPA’s draft strategic documents including the draft Youth Engagement Strategy that Cred developed. The YAC members provided their feedback, ideas and priorities moving forward – the room was alive with the buzzing energy of bright young minds eager to share their ideas with the Minister, as well as the EPA’s CEO, Tony Chappel, and Executive Director, Liesbet Spanjaard.

“We were so inspired by the council members, their ideas and the way they collaborated and worked together throughout the session,” says Cred’s Director, Jen Guice, who facilitated the first two meetings. “Providing opportunities for young people to participate in decision making is so important and valuable for both government and our next-gen leaders!”

The new Environment Youth Advisory Council discussed the EPA’s draft strategic documents, including the draft Youth Engagement Strategy, at their first in-person meeting at NSW Parliament House in November 2022.