Youth granted council involvement

By Paul Hemsley

The Victorian Government will distribute the $270000 grant into $30000 for each council under the Rural and Regional Youth Inclusion Grants program.

Minister for Youth Affairs, Ryan Smith said this will increase capacity and opportunities for young people in rural and regional Victoria to take part in local government decision making processes.

“It is important to recognise and encourage young peoples’ contributions; this increases participation which benefits the whole community as well as the young person’s confidence and skills,” Mr Smith said.

Corangamite Shire Council is among the nine local governments receiving grants from the state government.

Council Youth Development Officer, Katie McKean said the grant will be spent on supporting a position for somebody to work internally with the different areas of the council on how it can be more inclusive with youth consultation.

“Other components will be working with the groups of young people we’re currently engaged with as to how they feel we can do this work better and how we can advance our engagement to the next step,” Ms McKean said.

According to Ms McKean, it is more difficult to engage with young people once they have left school, particularly in Corangamite because many have to move away for training and education.

She said council will work through existing groups which are both connected to schools and external to schools.

Warrambool City Council Recreation and Youth Coordinator Kim White said the council will bring a temporary project worker in to develop the outcomes for the project and make it "more sustainable" within the service.

"It will be around an eight month process to do that and what we’re looking at is to create a project steering committee which will have representatives of our existing committees but also across council and some of the stakeholders in the community," Ms White said.

According to Ms White, the council is looking to include engagement tools such as social media and others within the existing communication network, and partnerships with local community organisations and agencies within the sector.

The grants program falls under the government’s ‘Youth Action Strategy’, which also includes regional and rural workshops, resources and research to increase community participation from young people.

Other grant recipients were South Gippsland Shire Council, City of Ballarat, Golden Plains Shire Council, Mitchell Shire Council, Murrunindi Shire Council, Buloke Shire Council, and Mount Alexander Shire Council.

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