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Australia21 is pleased to announce that science communicator and entrepreneur, Andy Barley, has been selected as a new Honorary Youth Adviser to our Board.

As part of Australia21’s commitment to engaging with young people and leaders of the future, we established two Honorary Youth Adviser (HYA) positions in 2012. Their input at our meetings and oversight of our project steering committees has been strategic to our aims and essential to our philosophy.

Andy has been active on the YoungA21 Committee, Australia21’s youth advisory group, since December 2016. So we’re confident his unique skill set will be a great asset to our operations.

“Andy has been a strong contributor to YoungA21. On behalf of the Board of Australia21 I welcome him to his new role,” said Chair of Australia21, Paul Barratt AO.

“We look forward to his participation in the deliberations of the Board and our development of future projects.”

University medallist setting STEM on fire

Andy has an impressive Curriculum Vitae. In 2013 he was awarded the University Medal when he graduated from the University of Adelaide with 1st class honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering as well as a Bachelor of Science degree. In 2014 he went on to become a Master of Science Communication Outreach with the Australian National University.

When he moved to Canberra, Andy worked as a Science Circus Presenter with Questacon, Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre, touring to regional and remote areas of Australia. Then he joined ANSTO, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, as a Science Communicator. While with ANSTO, he initiated and project managed its Big Idea Forum for students and teachers; he led the design and trained the staff involved in the Future Vision interactive show for high school students; and he facilitated workshops on robotics and coding.

In 2016 Andy became an Associate of YLab, the Youth Futures Lab, an engagement consultancy that puts young people at the centre to find solutions to big challenges across diverse areas including education, cities, employment, democratic participation and digital innovation. In addition, as the Founder and Director of SciGround, he is currently leading the development of playgrounds designed to excite young Australians about science – a project selected for PwC’s 21st Century Minds accelerator program as one of the top STEM education initiatives.

Andy is passionate about YoungA21 providing a forum for Australians under 30 to engage in public policy debates and help shape the future of our nation.

Too often, young people are seen as a ‘problem to be solved’.

“I am involved in YoungA21 because I believe in the ability of young voices to shape the future of Australia and the world. Too often, young people are seen as a ‘problem to be solved’. But our generation is more creative, connected and compassionate than any before it. Young people are the ones who will live in the future, so it is vital we play a central role in creating what it looks like. YoungA21 is currently refreshing how we work to connect more passionate young people to each other and into important conversations about our future.”

Australia21 is looking forward to having Andy help steer the Board on youth engagement with public policy. For his part, Andy is keen to play a bigger role in ensuring cohesion between Australia21 and YoungA21.

“I admire the work Australia21 does in driving policy conversations using research as its focus. Australia21 isn’t afraid to tackle the big complex topics facing society and it does this by bringing in as many diverse viewpoints as possible. In a world of ‘alternative facts’ and reduced trust in experts, we need innovative organisations like this more than ever.”

Giving young people a voice in national policy

It’s an exciting time for Australia21 and YoungA21. Building on the firm foundations set in 2012, we are now embarking on a journey to grow our network of young, enthusiastic members across Australia and take the value of our YoungA21 Committee to a new level. By contributing to Australia21’s strategic objectives, providing input into project development, and engaging in two-way mentoring opportunities with Board Directors, YoungA21 will become more effective at ensuring young people are an integral part of our most important national policy discussions. It will also continue leading the implementation of projects that consider issues specifically related to young people today: the Smarter about Drugs and Making Our Future Work projects.

So Andy’s three year tenure as an Honorary Youth Adviser will be demanding.

The HYA duties include:

  • Contributing to project development and participating in project implementation and evaluation where relevant.

  • Linking Australia21 into multiple youth networks.

  • Assisting with development of social media strategies.

  • Helping to chair the YoungA21 Committee.

Our other HYA is Rebecca Bunn, the current Chair of YoungA21. Over two years as a HYA, Rebecca has been involved in co-leading the Smarter about Drugs project, building YoungA21’s membership base and strengthening its relationship with the Australia21 Board.

Rebecca is currently completing a Master of Human Rights Law and is the Managing Director of The Imprisonment Observatory, a virtual collaborative centre at Monash University.  She holds a Master of Public Policy & Management and has previously worked at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and the Drug Court of Victoria. She has also volunteered with the Youth Referral and Independent Person Program (YRIPP), supporting young people who are taken into police custody.

We’re delighted that Rebecca has recently joined the staff of Australia21, as our Community Engagement Manager.

Stepping down from his position as an HYA is Luke Hutchins, who’s played a very valuable role in co-leading the Smarter About Drugs project and assisting in the Making Our Future Work project. Throughout his tenure, Luke has consolidated the credentials and duties of the HYAs and demonstrating leadership for YoungA21’s junior members. Australia21 is pleased that he will continue his association with YoungA21, despite a very busy schedule.

Luke is currently a Graduate at Safe Work Australia in Canberra. He holds a Masters of Social Policy and holds an Honours degree in Criminology from the University of Melbourne. He has a keen interest in understanding issues affecting young people, particularly alcohol and drug use. His Honours thesis investigated how alcohol education campaigns can better engage with young people. Previously he was a Policy Associate at the Foundation for Young Australians, working on education advocacy campaigns. Luke has also conducted research on alcohol-related violence prevention for the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, which was subsequently published as a chapter in the book Stemming the tide of alcohol: Liquor licensing and the public interest.

Australia21 wishes Luke the very best success in his next ventures.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of YoungA21 or Australia21 or helping with our projects, please get in touch at

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