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YIPAA Annual Address: Engaging Youth: giving young people voice in decisions that affect them.

  • Deloitte Level 10, 550 Bourke St Melbourne, VIC, 3000 Australia (map)


A record number of young Australians enrolled to vote ahead of the postal survey on same-sex marriage in 2017. This year, we’ve seen students on strike, demanding action on climate change, but we also saw record lows in voter turn-out in Australia's youngest electorates at the 2019 Federal election. It’s clear that young people have opinions, but how can we ensure their voices are heard?

The YIPAA Annual Address explores these ideas further through a panel discussion. You will hear thoughts, reflections and advice from:

  • Catherine Dunn, Victorian Youth Congress.

  • Melinda Jacobsen, VicHealth

  • Amelia Morris, Orygen’s Youth Advisory Council and the Department of Health & Human Services Youth Congress

  • Iain Walker, newDemocracy:

You’ll be able to submit questions to the panelists via Slido.com.

Catherine Dunn.jpeg

Catherine Dunn has always been a keen advocate for equal access and opportunities stemming from her experiences of being deaf and growing up in regional Victoria. She is involved in various roles which include her advocacy work in the Youth Disability Advocacy Service, Disability Leadership Institute and partnerships with Parliament House. Catherine is studying a Bachelor of Arts (Professional) majoring in Sociology. Her studies and experience combined with her role in the Victorian Youth Congress all reflect her aspiration to further her work in advocating and empowering those who are socially disadvantaged.


Melinda Jacobsen is a self-confessed ‘jack-of-all-trades’, Melinda has a breadth of skills gathered from 20 years of leading startups and national organisations in the not-for-profit sector. Everything from developing strategy, project delivery, marketing & PR, stakeholder engagement, event management and government advocacy in resource-constrained environments. But her greatest strength is her compassionate and authentic leadership style that fosters culture, builds strong relationships and brings out the best in people.

In her current role at VicHealth, Melinda has operational oversight of the Innovation office and its program of work. This includes the use of behavioural insights to shift the gender imbalance in the workplace and in sport, and participatory democracy to engage citizens to resolve big social problems, for example supporting the mental well being of young people as they transition from study to purposeful work.

Amelia Morris_Head shot.png

Amelia Morris is passionate about advocating for the interests of young people with mental ill-health and assisting to advance the quality of their experiences. She started her own advocacy group in her local community, which seeks to promote access to mental health services and reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues, for which she was named Young Citizen of the Year in Euroa in 2016.  Amelia was also a participant at VicHealth’s Staying on Track Youth Deliberative Forum.

Amelia is a member of Orygen’s Youth Advisory Council and the Department of Health & Human Services Youth Congress. She is also undertaking her law degree and has held several roles as an analyst and paralegal for government and community based organisations.

Iain Walker, newDemocracy

Iain Walker has led over 20 trial projects at local government and state government level including projects for State Premiers on both sides of politics. The topics have ranged from long-term budgeting for the $4bn City of Melbourne Financial Plan to the potential for a high-level nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia. In the water industry, nDF designed the 2017 Citizens’ Jury process for Yarra Valley Water.

newDemocracy is a founding participant in the global Democracy R&D group (https://democracyrd.org/) which works with other practitioners to explore the merits of similar trials being conducted around the world.

The work of the Foundation is simply to find ways to do democracy better. While many complain about problems with the system, nDF aims to research, trial and implement processes which will result in trusted public decisions.

The methods used focus on exploring a complementary role for randomly-selected everyday people (much like a criminal jury) alongside elected representatives. nDF’s processes involve giving citizens vastly extended time and access to multiple sources of information to see if they can find common ground

Your hosts for this event are Bonnie Rowe (Deloitte), Sophie Beirne (Victorian Electoral Commission) and Lucia De Angelis (VMIA)


  • IPAA Victoria members - Free

  • Staff of Organisation members - Free

  • Non members - $95.00

Event Details

Thursday 4 July 2019
7.30am - 9.00am

Registration/Breakfast - 7.30am 
Event Starts - 7.55am
Event Closes - 9.00am


Level 11, 550 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

This event is proudly sponsored by:

Venue Sponsor

Venue Sponsor

The YIPAA’s Sponsor

The YIPAA’s Sponsor

Earlier Event: 27 June
Public Sector Writing
Later Event: 10 July
Strategic Planning