Media Release by Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Young Aussies chosen for Commonwealth Forum

Two young Australians with impressive records of community service and youth work have been chosen to represent the country at the sixth Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) in Uganda at the end of this year.

Minister for Community Services, Senator Nigel Scullion, today announced that Simon Sheikh and Natalie Garcia-de Heer would represent Australia at the forum which will focus on issues including sustainable development, conflict management and health.

‘The forum allows young people to exchange ideas with others that have a completely different life experience and to develop new ways of increasing youth participation in their respective countries,’ Senator Scullion said.

‘All Commonwealth nations were invited to send two young people to the sixth CYF and Simon and Natalie were chosen from a competitive application process.

‘I’m certain they’ll make us proud by flying the flag for Australia and highlighting the ideals that make our young Aussies so unique. They will also bring back ideas from other nations as to how we can improve in different areas,’ Senator Scullion said.

Simon is from Newtown in Sydney. He is currently working for the NSW Treasury as an Analyst for the Environment and Natural Resources Branch, and completing his final year of a Commerce degree with an Economics major. He identifies isolation and social disengagement as one of the issues facing Australian youth today.

Natalie is from Bedford in Western Australia. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Law at the University of Western Australia. She believes environmental, mental health and Indigenous issues are important to young Australians.

Both Simon and Natalie have a comprehensive record of community and youth work and involvement in the United Nations Youth Association.

The CYF, titled ‘Unleashing young people’s potential for development’ is one of three held in conjunction with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. It will be hosted by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in partnership with the Ugandan National Youth Council, the Commonwealth Youth Programme and the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council.