Are young people more or less reconciled?

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A youth survey launched today during National Reconciliation Week will ask whether young Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians have a better relationship than their older counterparts.

Yarn About Youth is a national survey of young people’s attitudes towards reconciliation by Reconciliation
Australia and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition.

“Reconciliation is not an easy or straight-forward process; it will require fresh ideas to bring about positive
change. This is where young people come in,” Reconciliation Australia CEO Leah Armstrong said.

“Young people are major players in reconciliation because over one third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are aged 15 and under. If young people can build better relationships we will be making major strides towards reconciliation, nationally.” Australian Youth Affairs Coalition Executive Director, Andrew Cummings said.

The 10-minute online survey is part of a joint initiative between Reconciliation Australia and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, who are committed to measuring and reporting on progress on the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians and allowing young people to share their views. This survey canvases young people, whereas Reconciliation Australia’s biennial Australian Reconciliation Barometer reports on the attitudes of over 18s only.

“Yarn About Youth seeks to better understand young people’s attitudes to such things as our relationships, our levels of prejudice and whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is important to Australia’s identity as a nation,” 25-year-old Reconciliation Australia youth spokesperson Shannan Dodson said.

“We will have a number of different indicators of the quality of the relationship including trust, prejudice and the amount of contact we have with each other.

“In August this year, we will bring together representatives from key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous youth organisations for a two-day roundtable to find ways to address the barriers to young people engaging in reconciliation,” Ms Dodson said.

“National Reconciliation Week is the right time for young people and all Australians to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures and their continuing contribution to Australia,” Ms Dodson said.

For a link to the survey go to www.reconciliation.org.au

A record number of events have been registered for National Reconciliation Week 2012, with more than 500 listed on the website www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw

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