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Youth Advisory Panel

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The Youth Advisory Panel is an advisory body established to embed a youth voice in the Commission’s planning, innovation districts and thought leadership work. The Panel supports the Commission’s vision to create Australia’s first global city region that will provide better jobs, housing, education, health and lifestyle opportunities for everyone. 

A new Panel was formed in December 2022 and builds on the Greater Sydney Commission Youth Panel which was established in May 2019. The Panel is made up of 12 members, with two members representing each city in the Six Cities Region. Members are required to be aged between 18 to 30 years old upon appointment.

The purpose of the Panel is to: 

  • Elevate diverse perspectives and views on issues that matter to young people. 
  • Provide advice on Commission-led projects. 
  • Facilitate engagement with other young people across the Six Cities Region. 

Key responsibilities of Panel members include:  

  • Actively participate in six formal meetings per year. 
  • Contribute to Commission work by providing a youth lens on region-shaping policy and projects and collaborating with staff.  
  • Engage with communities by maintaining connections and leading discussions with local groups and networks; representing the Commission at events and forums; and working collaboratively with other Panel members.  
  • Provide advice to external organisations on diverse topics and issues beyond the Commission’s remit.

In addition, Co-Chairs attend Full Commission meetings to provide an update on Panel activities and share youth perspectives on the Commission’s work. 

Meet our Panel members

Grace Sheather, 18 (she/her)

Central Coast City
Central Coast / Darkinjung land

After completing high school in 2022, Grace works in retail and hospitality. Her commitment to social justice issues is reflected in her participation in community service projects and social research.

Grace is interested in the key areas of development in her city that directly impact the education, housing and employment outcomes for local young people. Grace is looking forward to voicing the ideas and concerns of young people to help create tangible social change.

Lucy Doran, 26 (she/her)

Central Coast City
Central Coast / Darkinjung land

Lucy is a vocational trainer in employment services with a Bachelor of Arts in social and political science. Through her work, Lucy has seen firsthand the benefit of increased workforce participation on the whole community.

Lucy is a strong advocate for First Nations reconciliation and achieving equality across social, economic, health and educational outcomes by working with young people.

Muhadissa Haidari, 27 (she/her)

Central River City
Cumberland / Darug land

Muhadissa is a multicultural support worker at the Community Migrant Resource Centre and Sydney Local Health District. She is also a member of the Harmony Alliance and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, and a Youth Ambassador at Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW.

Muhadissa is passionate about education, employment, accessibility and social justice. She is a strong advocate for connecting young people with decision makers so that their ideas can help drive positive change.

Omar Bensaidi, 28 (he/him)

Central River City
Parramatta / Darug land

Born and raised in Sydney to migrant parents, Omar has a sociology background, is studying law and employed by The Salvation Army as Team Leader at the Oasis Crisis Accommodation in the inner city.

Omar is passionate about supporting and advocating for people who have experienced inequality and disadvantage, particularly young people and their untapped potential.

Joshua Karras, 29 (he/him)

Eastern Harbour City
Bayside / Gweagal, Bidjigal and Gadigal land

Joshua is a Senior Project Manager with Bayside Council and is currently pursuing a PhD at the UNSW Faculty of Medicine. His research is focusing on improving health communication interventions on a global scale. Joshua is also a UNSW Postgraduate Representative on the University Council and an elected member of the University’s Academic Board.

Joshua’s primary focus is to drive cross-sectoral and cross-cultural partnership and collaboration to deliver real-world results, which maintain relevance on a local, state, national and international scale.

Annelise Ryan, 20 (she/her)

Eastern Harbour City
City of Sydney / Gadigal land

Annelise is studying occupational therapy, with a major in disability, participation and health.

She is passionate about representing and advocating for young people, particularly those with disability, neurodivergences, mental health challenges and chronic illness.

Jackson Cocks, 23 (he/him) (Co-Chair)

Illawarra-Shoalhaven City
Wollongong / Dharawal land

Jackson is studying a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at the University of Wollongong, and is the Chair of the Student Advisory Council and an undergraduate member of the University Council. Jackson works at the Illawarra Legal Centre as a tenant advocate, providing advice on their rights and working on housing focused policies.

Jackson is interested in key areas such as housing, the connection between the six cities and education/training and passionate about bringing young people’s voices into policy development.

Grace Mahon, 20 (she/her)

Illawarra-Shoalhaven City
Wollongong / Dharawal land

Grace is an economics and business analytics student combining work and study as a management cadet at the University of Wollongong. She was the Executive Officer for the university’s Youth Climate Change Statement and is an active community volunteer.

Grace has a passion for public policy and a strong interest in sustainability, energy efficiency and biodiversity and the role young people can play in their future.

Dylan Shoesmith, 22 (he/him)

Lower Hunter and Greater Newcastle City
Lake Macquarie / Awabakal land

Dylan is studying business and commerce at the University of Newcastle and serves on the Lake Macquarie Youth Council and Youth Committee for the Hunter.

A born and raised Novocastrian, Dylan has a keen interest in urban and regional planning and is passionate about building a city that caters for the housing, employment and transport needs of young people.

Matilda Harry, 24 (she/her) (Co-Chair)

Western Parkland City
Hawkesbury / Darug and Darkinjung land

Matilda is a Wiradjuri scholar, leader and advocate for equitable education, First Nations rights, women’s rights and caring for Country. She is passionate about creating positive social change through education and is contributing through her work as a keynote speaker, board member, volunteer in grass-roots community programs and her doctoral research on Indigenous youth success and mentorship at Western Sydney University.

At Western Sydney University, she has been recognised as the 2022 7 News NSW Highest Academic Achiever, a Dean’s Scholar, Citizen Scholar, Global Leader and Golden Key International Leader.

Janice Rodrigues, 20 (she/her)

Western Parkland City
Liverpool / Dharawal land

Janice is a proud Indian-Australian woman studying politics and international relations at the University of Sydney, volunteering within her local community, and working as a primary school tutor.

Janice is passionate about equity and including all voices in decision making particularly in relation to issues such as mental health, education, housing and climate change.

Position vacant

Lower Hunter and Greater Newcastle City

The recruitment process for this position is underway.

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