Meet the Minister for Youth Affairs
For the latest news from the Minister for Youth Affairs, check out his Ministerial Media Releases page (new window).
Name: Ryan Smith
Ministerial Portfolios: Minister for Youth Affairs, Minister for Environment & Climate Change
Place of birth: Greensborough, Victoria
Favourite Music: '80s music
Favourite Food: Steak
Favourite way to chill: Spending time with my children
Favourite footy team: Collingwood Football Club
Favourite travel destination: I just love to travel, happy to go anywhere.
Favourite political leaders: Jeff Kennett and Peter Costello have had a significant impact on the lives of Victorians over the last couple of decades and I take a lot from their leadership.
What does it mean to be Minister for Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Youth Affairs?
It is a great honour to represent Victorians as the Minister for Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Youth Affairs.
After a history of working with banks and finance, what made you so interested in politics?
In the almost two decades I worked in the finance sector, I experienced first-hand the impact government decisions can make to improve the lives of Victorians.
If we have a strong economy and investment in projects that deliver real outcomes for the community, then we will see long-term and immediate benefits within the community and in easing the cost of living pressures for Victorian families.
What do you love most about your job? Is there anything that you hate?
I love the opportunities that being a Minister present: developing programs that assist Victorians, meeting inspirational people who have achieved great things for their communities and in ensuring that we plan and build the future for generations of Victorians.
It’s a great job to have and there isn’t anything I really hate about it. That being said, it can sometimes be difficult to find time to spend with my family, particularly my young children.
How do you want to use your position to help people in the community?
By directing funds to initiatives that deliver real outcomes in the community, I think we can see positive developments in the community. In the Youth Affairs portfolio, I am focused on looking at projects that offer opportunities for mentoring, skills and training opportunities and that encourage young people to volunteer and get out in their community.
What did it feel like when you heard the good news you’ve been elected?
I was humbled to receive the news at both the 2006 and 2010 elections that the people of Warrandyte had elected me to represent them in the Parliament. I do not take the position for granted and will work hard to continue to ensure their views and issues are represented in the Parliament.
You’re obviously pretty passionate about the environment. What kind of ‘green’ things do you do at home?
I am passionate about the environment and am pleased to hear of the efforts of a number of Victorian families, like mine, that are undertaking small actions to improve the environment. Things like turning off the lights and computer screens when not using them, recycling waste at home appropriately and being careful in your water usage can make a big difference.
How do you plan on helping out Victoria’s youth?
As someone who left home at a young age, I understand the challenges that many young Victorians face. As Minister for Youth Affairs, I want to deliver programs and initiatives that provide skills and training opportunities, quality mentoring and encourage volunteering and active participation in their community by young Victorians.
The Victorian Coalition Government has already announced new programs that will deliver outcomes in these areas:
- $800,000 over four years for sponsorship of the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge, the school-based dance, drama and design spectacular. Young people will be able to showcase their talents in a 100 percent drug and alcohol free environment.
- $410,000 over four years for a community radio initiative which will give young people a voice on the Student Youth Network (SYN) radio as well as opportunities in rural and regional Victoria. The program includes skills development to provide more opportunities for young people to explore career pathways in radio broadcasting.
- $150,000 over four years for the Victorian Youth Parliament, to increase the number of young Victorians from rural and regional areas taking part in Youth Parliament. Young people will develop Bills that are debated by the Youth Parliament and then referred to relevant Ministers. The funding also includes $50,000 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Victorian Youth Parliament.
- $5.042 million over four years for Scouts Victoria and Guides Victoria to improve facilities, engage young people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and support volunteers in their organisations.
- $8.8 million over four years for the Advance school-based volunteering and training program offered to over 90 percent of Victorian government secondary schools.
What sort of things are going to focus on during your time as Minister?
I am passionate about delivering projects that provide Victorians with practical opportunities for improving our environment and delivering greater access to volunteering pathways and mentoring programs for young Victorians.