Q+A: Young And Essential Video

Q+A: Young And Essential Video

Watch the Q+A: Young and Essential Video now. COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds right now. The pandemic is throwing our lives into chaos and our futures. Young people, in particular, have been hard hit by job losses, disruption to education, lack of sufficient government support, increased mental health challenges and more. 

So how will young people fair after COVID-19? What do we need to do now to prepare for this future? And how can we create a better world for them to thrive in work and life? 

Please Note: This event was live-captioned and included AUSLAN interpreting, however, Zoom did not record these. Download the event TRANSCRIPT.


Amelia Telford: Seed Mob

Amelia Telford, a young Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman from Bundjalung country is the National Director of the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network. Amelia is passionate about supporting a national grassroots network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to protect our land, culture and communities from the impacts of climate change and fossil fuel extraction and be a part of creating positive change for our people. Amelia was awarded National NAIDOC Youth of the Year 2014, Bob Brown’s Young Environmentalist for the Year 2015 and Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year 2015 for her commitment to building a more just and sustainable future for all young people.

Issy Orosz: YDAS 

Issy is a young person with lived experience of disability, mentally ill health and chronic illness, who works for the Youth Disability Advocacy Service in Victoria. They are currently studying year 12 in an alternative education format, and are passionate about accessibility, social justice and young people being given the agency and respect they deserve.

Desiree Cai: Young Campaigns 

Desiree Cai is an Organising Director at YOUNG Campaigns, a movement of young people fighting for a healthy society with good jobs, stable housing and a safe climate for all. She is a queer, person of colour who is passionate about fighting for equality and justice. Desiree has campaigned on a range of issues from sexual assault on campus to economic justice, and lives on Wurundjeri land.

Mohamed Semra: Social Entrepreneur

Mohamed Semra is a young leader working to shatter stigma and misconceptions surrounding African migrants and refugees. As someone who migrated to Australia at a young age, he has overcome challenges; learning English and overcoming a stutter; to being elected as School and Debating Captain and winning the Commissioner’s Race Discrimination Prize for his essay on racism. Mohamed is currently developing a leadership mentoring program while studying Commerce and International Relations at university. He hopes that sharing his story and the resilience he has gained from it, will inspire young people to become leaders and challenge the negative stereotypes they often face. 

Brodie Gaudion: Mallacoota Youth Group

Brodie grew up in Mallacoota, a remote rural community which was hit hard by the 2019/2020 bushfires in East Gippsland. In response to this disaster, Brodie has supported a crew of amazing locals aged 12-25 to establish a youth led, community-based association and drop in service known locally as ‘The Sanctuary’ Mallacoota Youth Group Inc. The Sanctuary emerged because young people in Mallacoota needed a place to gather, support each other and organise whilst being cut off from electricity, internet, daylight and the rest of the world during the summer of 2020. In the short time since, it has become a respected, inspiring and effective mechanism of grassroots leadership, mutual aid and representation as we overcome the bushfires and look towards an uncertain post Covid future.  

Panel Moderator:

Sophie Johnston: NYCA 

Sophie Johnston is currently one of the Youth Commissioners for the National Youth Commission Australia. She is the former President of the National Union of Students and has spent a number of years advocating for students and young people in the higher education sector. In her work with student organisations, Sophie has campaigned around education access, workplace security and wage theft, as well as inadequate social services impacting young peoples participation. In 2017, she worked with the AHRC and AHR Centre in the release of the report into sexual violence prevalence on Australian University campuses.


The National Youth Commission Australia acknowledges that the work undertaken to organise and run this event is on the stolen land. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded and wish to pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.