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Communities and Disability Services and Seniors,   Warren Pitt 09/09/05


Hervey Bay community member, Juanita Mason, has been recognised as one of the state's young Indigenous leaders as a participant in a State Government-sponsored Young Indigenous Leaders forum in Brisbane this week.

24-year old Juanita was one of twenty participants from all over the state to take part in the 3-day forum at Parliament House to discuss issues facing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Juanita is a new apprentice consultant with Queensland Apprenticeship Services, and in her work covers an area stretching from the Torres Strait, Weipa and down to Aurukun.

The Young Indigenous Leaders Forum is part of the Queensland Government's Reconciliation Action Plan, which was launched by the Premier in 2001.

Juanita said the forum had been particularly beneficial in developing networks with like-minded young Indigenous people from across the state, and in learning about the vast array of resources becoming available for young people.

"The forum has been great for me because I've been able to learn from other young Indigenous people, and to start putting into action some of the ideas I've got in my head," she said.

"I feel better equipped now to help make positive changes in young Indigenous lives.

"I aspire to provide resources for my community which young people can utilise to enhance their physical, mental and emotional well-being, and to grow through career and crime prevention programs."

The Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, Warren Pitt, said participants at the forum had been identified as dynamic, motivated and hard working young people who were already being recognised as future leaders within their communities.

"Fostering leadership among young Queenslanders is of primary importance to achieving the goals of reconciliation because they will have a key role in continuing into the future the progress which is being made today," Mr Pitt said.
"Young leaders have a critical role to play in addressing key issues and challenges within Indigenous communities, and in providing leadership and direction for the broader Queensland community.

"The leadership they demonstrate in working towards reconciliation has direct benefits for all Queenslanders.

"Their leadership will result in more harmonious communities, a richer collective identity and a greater ability to work together for a shared vision of the future.

Mr Pitt said the Queensland Government recognises that an important element in achieving this shared vision is by working in partnership with young people.

He hopes the forum will inspire the continued development of the young leaders, who have a vital contribution to make to the future of Queensland.


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