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Platform 1225 Forum 2024

15th & 16th May 2024, Rydges Southbank

Julia, MC

QYHC’s Shouting from the Rooftop Young People’s Reference group

Julia is a member of QYHC’s Shouting from the Rooftop, a reference group of young people with lived expertise to offer across a multitude of service systems. Julia is a Social Worker with experience in a number of government and non-government organisations. She is committed to ensuring young people are front and centre of all we do. She is intent on having systems that fit young people as opposed to one size fits all.

Jordanah, Panel Facilitator  

Jordanah has worked in the out-of-home care sector for the past 10 years. Since finishing her degree Jordanah has worked in the management of residential foster care placements.

A lived experience has propelled Jordanah to continue to advocate for change and for there to be proactive planning for care leavers to ensure they have somewhere to continue to call home. Jordanah is passionate about supporting young people to utilise their voice and experience to bring about change.

Platform 1225 Presentations

Brenda Matthews, The Last Daughter

Connection is at the heart of what all young people need

At the age of two, Brenda Matthews and her six siblings were taken from their Aboriginal parents and placed into the foster system. Subsequently adopted by a loving White family, Brenda spent six years knowing nothing of her heritage and the family desperately fighting for her return. Brenda’s journey from being part of the stolen generation to becoming an Author, Speaker, Film Director and Indigenous Director of Learning Circle Australia is an inspiring testament to the power of healing and reconciliation.

Brenda Matthews is a proud Wiradjuri woman living with her husband, Mark, in Bundjalung country, Queensland. Brenda co-directed the feature documentary The Last Daughter, which was released in Australian cinemas and on Netflix in mid-2023 to excellent reviews and critical acclaim. The film is based on her beautifully penned book of the same title, and was also released in 2023 to excellent reviews.

Brenda’s journey from being part of the stolen generation to becoming a Mother, Grandmother, Author, Speaker, Film Director, Storyteller and Co-Founder/Director of Learning Circle is an inspiring testament to the power of healing and reconciliation. Her remarkable story, as eloquently portrayed in her debut book and Netflix documentary feature film, “The Last Daughter,” encapsulates heartbreak, love, forgiveness, hope and bringing the Country together.

Professor Cameron Parsell

Ending homelessness requires societal transformation

If we want to do something significant about homelessness in society, we have to confront the unquestioned marketisation of housing and our deeply held values about what housing means and what all people deserve. This is crucial because the changes required to end and prevent homelessness are at the same time changes that will ensure all people live well, and in societies that are more cohesive. The framing of ending homelessness must not pit one group against another but instead see ending homelessness as something that is unifying. It should therefore be front and centre of a more optimistic conversation about how we want to live together. We can articulate this vision as a means of bringing society together rather than splintering it further, based on wealth and identity claims.

Professor Parsell’s work examines multiple forms of exclusion and social harms. His research focuses on the nature and experience of poverty, homelessness, and domestic and family violence. He is interested in understanding what societies do to respond to these problems, and what societies ought to do differently to address them. In collaboration with researchers and partners from not-for-profit organisations, Cameron’s program of research seeks to identify how citizens experiencing exclusion and practitioners working with them can work with governments to bring about systematic societal change.

Cameron has written several books on homelessness, including his most recent: Homelessness, A Critical Introduction which demonstrates that homelessness is a punishing, predictable, yet solvable social problem.

View Book

Professor Silke Meyer

Placing young people front and centre in domestic and family violence prevention and healing

Dr Silke Meyer is a criminologist and social worker by training, bringing practical and theoretical expertise to her research, teaching and writing. Her research centres on different aspects of domestic and family violence, including women and children’s safety, wellbeing and recovery, men’s accountability in their role as perpetrators and fathers, experiences specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the role of domestic and family violence-informed practice in child protection, policing and court proceedings. Silke is a subject matter expert for the Raising Children Network and the 1800RESPECT Clinical Governance Committee.

Rebecca Lang

Reducing harms associated with drugs – opportunities for improved system responses to young people

Rebecca is the CEO of the Qld Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (QNADA), the peak organisation for the non-government alcohol and other drug treatment and harm reduction sector in Queensland.

Rebecca has been a member of principal expert advisory body to the Australian Government, the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and other Drugs (ANACAD) since 2017.  Rebecca is also the Chair of the Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council (AADC) and a member of the advisory board of the National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research (NCYSUR).

Jennifer Thomas

Strengthening Queensland Community services

Jennifer is the Executive President of The Services Union.  Jennifer is responsible for a union membership of over 13, 000 and the union’s overall function including campaigning, membership and industrial relation activities.  Jennifer has worked in the Union Movement for more than 20 years. She has a Commerce degree and as a TSU leader has skills in education, member advocacy, member benefits and digital services. Jennifer has also had extensive advocacy experience in superannuation having campaigned for better retirement outcomes for Members, all working Australians and closing the superannuation gender gap.

Jennifer has been influential in the following campaigns: Portable Long Service Leave for the Queensland Community and Disability Sector, Equal Pay for Community and Social Workers; We Won’t Wait, Stand Up for Super and Get Super Working for Women, Queensland Assets Not for Sale; Sustainable Councils for our Local Government Members; Investing in Quality Community Services; A Just Transition; 27 Ways and Growing; and Make the NDIS the best it can be. Jennifer has also been influential in many local enterprise-bargaining campaigns across Queensland.

Vai Leavaiseeta

Vai is the Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Solicitor with Youth Advocacy Centre (YAC)

She is a dedicated advocate for justice and empowerment, currently serving as the Family and Domestic Violence Lawyer at Youth Advocacy Centre. Her work extends to handling Youth Justice matters, reflecting her deep commitment to supporting vulnerable individuals (specifically youth) in our communities.

With over a decade of experience in the community legal sector, Vai began her legal journey in New Zealand in 2012. Since 2018, she has been actively contributing to legal initiatives in Australia, specifically Queensland. Vai hold’s a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Victoria University of Wellington.

Being admitted in both the High Court of New Zealand and the Supreme Court of Queensland has allowed Vai to advocate effectively across jurisdictions. Her passion lies in ensuring that marginalised and vulnerable individuals have access to justice and are empowered to navigate legal complexities.

Vai strongly believes in understanding the dynamics of our evolving communities to drive positive changes and create a more just and equitable society.

James Bloomfield

James is the Alcohol and Other Drug Case Manager and Young and Proud Youth and Family Connect Worker with Open Doors Youth Service.

James (He/Him-They/Them) has spent the last 7.5 years working to support vulnerable people within Aged and disability space. James’ other work history includes; management, youth mental health and supported crisis accommodation services. With a focus on complex behavioral management and advocacy, James has a passion for exploring and supporting queer mental health and helping young people to find their voice. 

James has undertaken study in health, business and community services and is now undertaking his studies in Psychology.

James’ primary role is an AOD Case Manager, but he also runs the Young and Proud program to  support young people who are at risk of homelessness or transitioning from accessing youth services to adult services and living independently.

Justine Marshall

Gold Coast Youth Service; Early intervention and the Street CRED multi-agency approach

Justine Marshall, is the Team Leader at the Gold Coast Youth Service (GCYS).  The GCYS is a not for profit, specialist youth support and homelessness organisation, supporting young people and their families who may be marginalised, disadvantaged or homeless.  Justine leads the Youth Homelessness Outreach Team including Open Access, Youth Engagement and Street CRED in the Gold Coast region.

Justine is a Social Scientist with Post Graduate Certificates including in Domestic and Family Violence, Aboriginal studies, and Leadership.  Prior to the GCYS, Justine held an 18 year career in Youth Justice.  From service centre based Restorative Justice, Court Coordination and Case management, Justine expanded out to middle management in the last 10 years.  As the number of young people experiencing a lack of safety in the home grew, so too did Justine’s passion to step out into early intervention in the youth homelessness space.

Justine will be talking about multi-agency assertive outreach and the Street CRED team, including early intervention and responsiveness to changing local need.

Lisa Johnson and Daniel Buckley

Safe and Connected Futures – Early Intervention

Lisa is a Social Scientist and Daniel a Social Worker. Both are senior practitioners with the Safe and Connected Futures program at BYS and have extensive experience in early intervention. Lisa is committed to empowering young people, fostering strong family bonds, and preventing homelessness by strengthening familial relationships. She has a passion for making a difference, bringing compassion, expertise, and dedication to the mission of supporting vulnerable individuals and communities.

Daniel passionately believes in working transparently with young people and their families to reach their goals and address barriers to change. He has worked extensively across Fostering, Youth Residential homes, the transition to adulthood space and Intensive Family Support Services. He is driven to continue working collaboratively and with a strengths focussed approach to empower young people and their families.

Making Tracks – Expert Panels Featuring Young People

Is ending youth homelessness a realistic aspiration?

What will it take?

Dennis Comino

Performing an original song called “All I can Be”

Since starting his career in the music Industry in 2020, Dennis Comino has been regularly performing in venues around Brisbane as well as performing on some of Brisbane’s most popular stages such as Lefty’s Music Hall, The Triffid and The Old Museum. Alongside this, Dennis performed three shows at the Gympie Music Muster in August 2022 & 2023, showcasing his original music and a few covers too. Dennis has had a successful time sharing his music and working with many Australian established artists at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2020, 2022, 2023 & 2024. During TCMF 2024 Dennis placed 3rd (out of 370 Buskers) in the Battle Of The Buskers competition. He was the only solo artist to place in the competition, with the highlight being given the opportunity to perform his original music on Toyota Park Stage (festival main stage) to a crowd of over 5000 people. In December 2022 Dennis began his first Tour. Travelling from Brisbane to Victoria and back again doing shows in country towns along the way. In Victoria he had his first headlining show promoting his original music. He has successfully released his original music to all streaming services and has received airplay here in Australia as well as in the UK, USA and Europe. Dennis is an Official Artist for Cole Clark Guitars and a Graduate of the 2021 Junior Academy of Country Music. In 2023 Dennis completed his senior schooling and graduated from Music Industry College in Fortitude Valley. Dennis is looking forward to sharing more of his original music with as many audiences as he can reach worldwide.


Performing a song titled ‘Dit moi tu m’aime’ (Tell me that you love me)

Pierre is a musician who has been singing since he was 8 years old, in the Choir Armee du Salut in Congo DRC. By the age of 10 he and his friends were writing and performing songs. He arrived in Australia at 16 years, completed year 12 and a Bachelor of Business and Administration.  He is currently studying a Bachelor of IT majoring in computer science. His goal is to become a professional singer. He models as a hobby. He’s keen to start up an organisation for homeless young people where workers stay with young people through their journey to independence.

Exacerbating or causal factors?

The interface between trauma, mental health, alcohol and other drug use, domestic and family violence, involvement with the youth justice system and young people’s experiences of homelessness.

More information on additional presentations is coming soon.

Corporate Sponsorship Options

Silver Sponsor

$ 500

Per Group
  • Exhibition stand in conference registration and tea break area
  • 1x Sponsor Day Pass
  • 1x Young Person Ticket
  • Small Logo on Website
  • Logo on Marketing Materials

Gold Sponsor

$ 1000

Per Group
  • Exhibition stand in conference registration and tea break area
  • 2x Sponsor Day Pass
  • 1x Young Person Ticket
  • Medium Logo on Website
  • Logo on Marketing Materials

Platinum Sponsor

$ 2000

Per Group
  • Banner on the Main Stage
  • Exhibition stand in conference registration and tea break area
  • Additional exhibit space provided in lunch break area
  • 3x Sponsor Day Pass
  • 2x Young Person Ticket
  • Large Logo on Website
  • Logo on Marketing Materials

Calling Presenters!

This is YOUR chance to be part of Platform 1225

As part of the Platform 1225 Forum May 2024, QYHC is calling for Expressions of Interest from organisations or individuals to share innovative programs, research or other developments relevant to the wellbeing of young people. These presentations need to have a focus on advocacy, early intervention and prevention, collaboration and/or systemic reform, with the aim of improving the lives of children, young people, families and communities who face barriers to social inclusion.

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