A NEW plan for young people in Wodonga has been criticised for being too focused on disadvantaged and minority groups rather than the mainstream.
Wodonga councillor Ron Mildren gave the appraisal at Monday night's municipal meeting, which adopted the 2019-2023 youth strategy.
"A true strategy for youth will not focus on only the disadvantaged or minority but builds infrastructure, systems and networks to strengthen mainstream as well as disadvantaged and minorities," Cr Mildren said.
"A true strategy for all youth would work to try and provide services and facilities for everybody and try and make it accessible to everybody.
"(This plan) seems to me to be focusing on the welfare industry bent...it's not an equitable way, from where I see it, to address all of the youth in our whole community."
Deputy mayor Kat Bennett, who was involved in taking feedback for the draft strategy, responded by saying closing the gap between haves and have-nots would aid everybody.
She then noted areas such as connecting with employers, promoting volunteering and entrepreneurship were universal.
"It's not just specifically targeting minority groups, it's working with everyone," Cr Bennett said.
Councillor Danny Lowe suggested Cr Mildren should have been constructive rather than purely critical.
"It would have been great for Cr Mildren to bring some solutions to his so-called inadequacies about this particular strategy," Cr Lowe said.
"We've had a long time to have look at it and go over it, all too often people can quite easily pick the bones out of something, but it's really good if you can pick the bones out of it and come up with a solution as well."
Mayor Anna Speedie said while 98 per cent of young people in Wodonga were "fantastic" some of them were not and needed help.
"Yes those are some of the minority groups, but we can't ignore those," she said.
"A community should be measured on its most vulnerable person and how you treat them, that's the real litmus test of a good community."
Cr Bennett applauded the strategy's recognition of gender categories other than female and male.
"It was really fantastic to see and I don't think I've seen this in any council strategy before," Cr Bennett said in her concluding remarks.
"It's around acknowledgment, 'Wodonga Council acknowledges that there are more than two genders, due to lack of data only males and females are represented here'.
"So again for young people, from our LGBTI communities, seeing that actually in a strategy is incredibly empowering."