Radio gives regional young people a voice at the national level

The Nationals’ Member for Riverina and Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack has met with and congratulated two winners from the Riverina electorate for their success in the annual ABC Heywire competition.

Mr McCormack met Georgie McKelvie from Temora and Yongyan Xia from Grenfell at a celebratory morning tea at Parliament House today and heard from both of them about their personal stories and their experience as part of the ABC Heywire program.

“I was incredibly proud to have met Georgie and Yongyan. They are both enthusiastic and passionate students representing their peers from their respective communities here in the national capital, sharing their stories and experiences with political leaders and young people from around the country,” Mr McCormack said.

Participants in the Heywire program tell a story about an aspect of their life or where they live in any number of formats, including text, video, photos and audio. Georgie told her story about discovering the difference between the country and the city, professing her love of living in a country town and the warmth of country hospitality.

Yongyan who in 2013 moved from China to Grenfell in the Central West shared her story of how regional Australia is home and how she doesn’t want to lose her connection to China, her ability to speak her native tongue in her new home. 

As winners of the Heywire competition Georgie and Yongyan had their stories featured on the ABC and are spending this week in Canberra taking part in a five-day intensive summit.

As part of the summit Georgie and Yongyan will work with other winners to develop ideas on how to make regional Australia an even better place for young people, they will also network with politicians, philanthropists and community leaders and participate in leadership and strategy training.

“Heywire provides our young people with a voice and a national platform for them to share their views and raise issues of importance to them and their community with national decision makers,” Mr McCormack said.

“I am inspired by the resilience and determination of young people like Georgie and Yongyan who study and live in regional areas. I want to again congratulate and encourage them to continue to contribute to the towns and communities they come from and promote the benefits of country living to their city peers.

Cristy Houghton