The Push calls on Victorian government to expand its youth development program, FReeZA
20.04.2021

The Push calls on Victorian government to expand its youth development program, FReeZA

Words by Tom Parker

Since 1996, the FReeZA program has been critical in providing opportunities for more than two million young punters to experience live music for the first time.

Australia’s iconic youth music organisation The Push, with support from Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic), is asking the Victorian government to evolve its youth development program, FReeZA.

Since 1996, the Victorian government’s FReeZA program has been critical in providing opportunities for more than two million young punters to experience live music for the first time. As part of the program, Victorians aged 12-25 from all socio-economic, cultural backgrounds and abilities, have had the opportunity to curate and attend live music events that are drug, alcohol and smoke-free in supervised and safe venues.

Catch up on the latest music interviews, news and reviews here.

So, what’s the concern? Well, FReeZA hasn’t received an increase in funding in more than a decade, and as events costs continue to rise, the program’s reach, depth and sustainability has never been more uncertain.

It’s because of this that The Push and YACVic are asking for the Victorian government to increase its investment in the program to $5.6m annually over the next five years, and help evolve FReeZA to reflect changes in technology and youth culture.

“With the devastating impact of COVID-19 on young people and the contemporary music sector, the Victorian government must act now and evolve FReeZA to ensure our creative state’s vibrant ecosystem exists and can be accessed by the next generation of young music makers, audiences and industry professionals,” CEO of The Push, Kate Duncan, said in a press statement.

“With the work currently being undertaken by the Victorian government through the new Creative State Strategy and Youth Strategy, we believe that now is the time to evolve FReeZA and ensure a future program model can remain relevant and sustainable.”

The extra funding will allow FReeZA to provide more opportunities for young people to access fully-supervised, all-ages live music events. It will also provide increased paid employment and engagement of music industry professionals as event contractors and program mentors. This is among a host of other reasons The Push is calling for the increase in funding.

Check out the campaign video below.

For more info and to find out how you can support The Push’s #EvolveFReeZA campaign, head here.