Postcards straight to the Premier’s office a youth forum vision

ROUNDTABLE: Andy Bell, Charlotte Cummins, 16, of Wodonga Middle Years, Tayla Mulloy, 14, Beechworth High School and Lane Anderson, 18, Wodonga TAFE. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
ROUNDTABLE: Andy Bell, Charlotte Cummins, 16, of Wodonga Middle Years, Tayla Mulloy, 14, Beechworth High School and Lane Anderson, 18, Wodonga TAFE. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

A youth forum wrapped up in Wodonga on Thursday with a final request for the school students present; put forward your number one priority for ‘the man with all the money’.

While it may not be Premier Daniel Andrews who reads the subsequent report from the Youth Affairs Council Victoria, the students’ messages will still get to policy makers.

YACVic rural manager Andy Bell said the organisation held consultations every year, this time in Wodonga.

“We are the peak body for people aged 12 to 25 and we’re looking to find out what young people want, to then feed that back to the government,” he said.

“(Following previous consultations) YACVic has been looking at lowering the driving age, particularly around Border towns.

“We find there are similar issues between metropolitan Melbourne and rural areas – but there are added overlays rurally, such as isolation and lack of employment opportunities.”

Mr Bell said the forum was run by VCAL Wodonga TAFE students, in partnership with North East Local Leaning and Employment Network.

NELLEN chief executive Bev Hoffmann said mental health and a lack of services was a key focus of the talk.

“There’s an absence of services that meet them where they are – not everyone can get into Wodonga,” she said.

“Education and employment are two of the other big ones.

“Our job is to listen to young people about what is going on for them and help solve some of their issues, and make sure organisations are talking to each other.”

- ELLEN EBSARY