The NSW government has launched its first Regional Youth Taskforce, which will give young people from across the state a voice in government.
Minister for Regional Youth Bronnie Taylor said the 18 regional members would “champion causes” that are important to their peers.
“The survival and prosperity of our regional towns relies on the teenagers and young adults of today, so it makes sense to give those people a voice at the highest level of government,” she said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said two people from each of NSW’s nine regional zones were selected out of more than 300 applications.
“This is an amazing group of young people with diverse backgrounds who are united by their desire to improve life for their peers, from country to coast,” he said.
“It’s a big responsibility, but I am confident that every single young person chosen is committed to the task and I want each of them to know they have the support and backing of myself and the NSW government.”
Applications revealed a range of concerns from young people, including mental health and youth suicide, digital connectivity, public transport, recreation facilities, drug use, and employment.
The NSW government has also formed the Office of Regional Youth and is finalising a Regional Youth Framework. The inaugural meeting of the taskforce will provide advice to Taylor, the Office of Regional Youth and other government agencies, on the issues that affect young people living in regional NSW. They will meet four times a year.
Taylor has previously said the group would help shape policy and service delivery.
“Regional NSW is home to a third of our state’s youth, and whether you live in the country or on the coast, young people face unique challenges. Regular droughts, high unemployment and the tyranny of distance can make growing up harder for our young people in regional NSW,” she said.
“As the first Minister for Regional Youth, I want young people in our regions to know that this is your chance to be heard, to champion your local causes, represent your friends and classmates, and be involved in the decisions that help to create change in your hometown.
“I give you one promise: if you talk to us, we will listen.”