Youth encouraged to join SA councils

By Lilia Guan
A campaign is underway to help boost the number of young people being represented in local councils in South Australia.
A spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA) of South Australia said in the past people voting for local government or nominating for council position had to be 18 before the close of enrolments – which was 13 August this year.
However changes to the Local Government Act last year lowered the voting age from 18 and three months to 18.
Changes to the age requirements in voting will help bring council voting in line state requirements so that people who provisionally enrolled at the age of 17, prior to 13 August, will get a vote and be able to nominate for council elections if their 18th birthday is on or before 12 November.
The LGA spokesperson said councils provide a significant range of services for young people, from sport and recreational facilities like skate parks to libraries with free Internet access.
LGA in SA had an active Youth Policy which recognised the important role young people played in the social, economic and cultural life of communities, the spokesperson said.
Every four years a review was made on the various groups that were under represented in local councils, she said.
“These groups include; women; indigenous groups; people with disabilities; cultural and linguistic groups; and this year around young people,” she said.
There’s a misconception held by many young people that they have to own property to vote or run for council office.
“Communities are so diverse and we want to ensure the diversity is represented within council,” she said.
South Australian youths considering running for office in the 2010 Local Government Elections have a window of opportunity for nomination, which ends at noon on 21 September this year.

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