Australian Youth Affairs Coalition
The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) is the national voice and advocate for young people. They work to ensure that young people are equally considered and included in public dialogue and policy. Their membership includes young people, youth-led and youth-focused organisations.
AYAC’s historical reliance on Federal Government funding presented significant challenges to the organisation’s sustainability. In 2014, the Federal Government defunded AYAC due to changes to the youth engagement budget. AYAC continued as a volunteer-run organisation until 2020, when the Federal Government announced $150,000 in funding to implement two key projects – a youth fellowship and policy forum.
AYAC’s work throughout 2021 highlighted the value of a strong and secure national youth advocate, with the capability and funding to convene, elevate and build the capacity of young people. Compelled by AYAC’s commitment to empowering the full diversity of Australia’s youth to lead change for a better world, VFFF and The Myer Foundation approved five years of core operations funding to AYAC in December 2021.
Since then, AYAC has transitioned from a small team with limited funding to an established peak body with a growing membership and increased national influence. The team continuously advocate for the rights and interests of young people, and empower young people to take action on the issues they care about. Throughout 2022, AYAC coordinated advocacy, media and policy training for more than 300 young people and facilitated opportunities for youth representatives to be included in government roundtables, co-design sessions, and parliamentary inquiries. AYAC also partnered with the eSafety Commission to launch and facilitate their Online Safety Youth Advisory Council.
AYAC’s strengthened profile as Australia’s peak body for young people was reflected in the October 2022 Budget, which included $1.53m in funding for AYAC from 2023-2026. Through their advocacy, AYAC secured a number of significant commitments for young people in the Budget, including funding to establish a Youth Engagement Strategy, introduce five government youth advisory groups, and establish an Australian Government Youth Steering Committee. They are now working with government to recruit and train these advisory groups. This represents a significant step in providing young people with a seat at the table, with the capacity and opportunity to influence decisions that affect and matter to them. It also highlights the power of philanthropic leverage in enabling organisations to demonstrate impact, secure government funding and boost their long-term financial sustainability.