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Promoting the rights, voices and contributions of children and young people

Promoting the rights, voices and contributions of children and young people

Advisory committees

Since 2010 the Commissioner has worked with 19 different advisory committees across WA. The Commissioner’s advisory committees provide children and young people with the opportunity to have their views heard and contribute directly to the work of the office.

A key finding in the Commissioner’s 2019 and 2021 Speaking Out Surveys of WA children and young people was that female young people consistently rated their own wellbeing below that of their male peers. In response to this finding, the Commissioner established the Girls’ Wellbeing project which aims to better understand the reasons for the wellbeing gap between male and female young people. To contribute to the Commissioner’s work on the gender wellbeing gap, in early 2022 advisory committees were formed at Penrhos College and Margaret River Senior High School.

Regular meetings with each advisory committee will occur in 2022. Collectively five meetings have taken place in the first half of the year. Each advisory committee will develop its own projects and will advise the Commissioner on the broader Girls’ Wellbeing project.

Listening tour

The Commissioner for Children and Young People’s Listening Tour is a state-wide initiative designed to facilitate ongoing conversations with diverse groups of children and young people, as well as adults and organisations who support them, to listen to their views and identify areas for celebration or for action and advocacy.

The Listening Tour involves the Commissioner talking with children and young people and others in the community about what the youth of today need to be healthy and reach their potential.

Commissioner McGowan-Jones visited the South West, Peel, Mid-West, West Kimberley and Goldfields regions and the remote Ngaanyatjarra Lands in 2022. She has also visited metropolitan schools and organisations that support children and young people.

Commissioner Pettit visited the West Kimberley, Gascoyne, Peel and Great Southern regions in the latter half of 2021.


DigiMe, an online avatar creator, was developed by the Commissioner to provide WA children and young people with a way to share their views and have them published on the Commissioner’s website and social media.

Many DigiMe contributions were received throughout the year from children and young people on topics such as what adults could learn from children and what things help them to feel good.

The publication What can adults learn from children? was released in May 2022. It incorporates the voices of almost 1,300 children and young people who used the DigiMe tool to create avatars and have their say.

My Place in WA (Children’s Week WA)

Children’s Week is a national celebration of children’s rights, talents and citizenship, which is observed in Australia around Universal Children’s Day in late October. In 2021 the Commissioner’s office arranged for images of WA children and young people to be broadcast on the Yagan Square digital tower during the week with messages about Children’s Week.

During Children’s Week 2021, the Commissioner published the My Place in WA booklet. The publication investigates the effects of home, school, local community and services on the wellbeing of children and young people.


The Commissioner sponsors several awards that celebrate organisations and individuals who make a difference in the lives of WA children and young people.

Achievement Awards

This year saw the Commissioner establish the inaugural Award for Best Practice in Children’s Consultation as part of the Achievement Awards. The Awards are managed by the Institute of Public Administration Australia and aim to promote individual and organisational excellence in public service. The Award recognises an organisation for excellence in listening to and using the views of children and young people to achieve significant outcomes and the winner will be announced in late 2022.

Western Australian Youth Awards

Since 2010, the Commissioner has supported the Participate Award at the Youth Awards, coordinated by Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA). The Award recognises a young person aged 12 to 17 years who has shown outstanding dedication to make a positive change in their community and demonstrated peer leadership. 2021 Participate Award winner Fatima Merchant was recognised for her involvement in many programs that championed positive change for her peers, and for developing a digital student wellbeing program at her school where she was Head Girl.

Fairground Conference

The Commissioner also sponsors YACWA’s Fairground conference, which provides an opportunity for the youth sector to share ideas on state-wide issues of importance to young people. Due to scheduling disruptions due to the COVID pandemic, the conference was postponed to 2023.

Children’s Environment and Health Local Government Policy Awards

Coordinated by the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia, the Local Government Policy Awards recognise local governments that demonstrate commitment to building and maintaining environments that support the health of children. The Commissioner sponsors two awards. This year the Shire of Augusta–Margaret River was winner of the Consulting with Children Award and the Young People Making a Difference Award winner was the City of Wanneroo.

Mental Health Awards

The Commissioner sponsors the Mentally Healthy Education Award as part of the Western Australian Mental Health Awards. These awards are hosted by the Western
Australian Association for Mental Health with the support of the Mental Health Commission. The award recognises educational institutions such as WA primary and high schools that encourage good mental health for their students, staff and volunteers. Mount Barker Community College was the 2021 award winner.

Youth Choices Film Competition

Run by the Constable Care Foundation, the Youth Choices Film Competition asks students aged 12 to 18 years to create short films that raise awareness of important public safety issues for WA young people. The Commissioner sponsors the Student Choice Award which was awarded to a student from John Forrest Secondary College for their film JD Rock 1995 is Following You.

Information about each of these awards is available on the Commissioner’s website.

Explore the 2021-22 Annual Report