Ms MIKAKOS (Minister for Youth Affairs) (09:53:27) — I rise today to update the house on how the Andrews Labor government is helping young Victorians to build their confidence and explore creative careers. FReeZA is an innovative youth program providing opportunities for young Victorians aged 12 to 25 to enjoy gigs, dance parties and other cultural, recreational and artistic events that are drug, alcohol and smoke free. Importantly these grants support young people to put on hundreds of free events in their local communities, ensuring a variety of activities across our state specifically designed for young people.
Seventy-seven local government and community organisations from Victoria will receive funding which formed part of a recent announcement that I made. As part of the $7.2 million FReeZA program that will be delivered over the next three years a number of existing and new organisations will now benefit from this funding. New organisations that provide a range of new activities to young people include YouthFest in Stawell, which develops the leadership and event management skills of local young people while celebrating youth culture through live music, art, skate and dance; Fluke, across Greater Geelong, which allows like-minded young people to work collaboratively on projects and learning and sharing skills such as marketing, promotions, event and activity planning, risk management and evaluation; and FReeZA ‘Big Upz’, which helps showcase and elevate central Victorian hip-hop culture by enabling young people from marginalised or vulnerable backgrounds and young hip-hop artists to plan, deliver and perform in live youth-friendly hip-hop events.
More than 150 000 young people from a diverse range of backgrounds across Victoria typically attend more than 400 FReeZA events every year. We are putting young Victorians at the centre of our policy and decision-making, giving them a voice and the skills that they need to create the best events led by young people for young people. We are very proud as a government to be supporting young people through these FReeZA grants to now have more opportunities to build their confidence and explore creative careers in the future.