A strong passion to drive change led KGI participants and alumnus Joseph Yugumbari (18 years old), Tiara Willis (16), Abigail Rawlins-Valentine (17), Scout Payne (16) and Kayra Meric (17) to youth parliament this month.

The group who come from three different states across the nation helped a youth rent subsidy scheme designed to combat youth homelessness pass through the Lower House.

The issue was something close to the hearts of each the young Indigenous leaders.

“Youth homelessness is a big issue, and something the four of us were all passionate about, because we’ve all had people in our lives that have had to go through it,” Yugumbari said.

“Kayra is from Melbourne, Scout and Tiara country Victoria and me remote Western Australia- we have all seen homelessness, that shows it’s relevant and that it really does affect everyone.”

Yugumbari, who was attending youth parliament for a second time, said that the initiative helped him to feel like his voice could be heard.

“It’s a great platform for us to express ourselves and to have cultural empowerment,” he said.

“I think it’s really important that diverse groups from all ages, regions and communities are represented.”

The 18-year-old who is currently studying criminal justice at RMIT University is someone with a strong grasp on diversity, having lived in a range of contrasting communities as a kid.

“I feel like I’ve been gifted with the opportunity to move around and have different conversations with a lot of people to understand how the world works and people’s differences,” he said

“I think one of the main issues in our society is that too many people are only focused on their own views and don’t take time to listen to other people and their unique views.”

Yugumbari credited Youth Parliament and other opportunities he had experienced through KGI, as other ways he has been able to broaden his horizons.

Joseph Yugumbari (centre) says he has grown amazing connections through KGI programming

“I’m so glad I got involved, the hardest thing can be having the courage (to get involved), but once you do take that step, it all just flows,” he explained.

“You meet so many great people, make connections and learn more about yourself and the world and others around you.”

As part of Youth Parliament, Kayra Merick also had the chance to meet with State Labor Member for Richmond, Richard Wynne about his role as housing commissioner.

The program was run over three days at Parliament House with the Monday, Tuesday and Thursday parliament sitting days and Wednesday a recreational day for networking and activities.