Young people add their voices to shape the city's future

Published: 13 Sep 2019 3:23pm

Wagga’s next generation of aspiring leaders and budding decision-makers have spoken from the heart at Council’s ‘Shape Your City’ Youth Forum.

Visiting students from eight schools across Wagga used the forum to draw attention to the big issues they feel must be addressed to meet the needs of a growing population.

Public transport was a primary concern, with many students highlighting the challenges they face when accessing services like buses.

They feel broadening and improving bus routes would enable more young people to attend popular events like Lost Lanes.

Kooringal High School’s Katie Harper and Amelia Hanson were quick to highlight a need for more youth-friendly activities, events and spaces.

“There aren’t a lot of places where kids who are underage can go after school to connect, study and just get something to eat in a safe place.”

Fellow Kooringal student Ben Nosworthy suggested music festivals would be a great way to improve the youth experience.

The KHS students said they felt empowered by the forum, and the chance to better understand the valuable role they can play in shaping their city’s future.

“It’s pretty rare that we get to express our opinions like this,” Katie said.

“I’ve really enjoyed learning how we can contribute our ideas to Councillors and Council staff.”

Fifty young people took part in the forum, bringing forward countless, inspiring ideas to Councillors and Council Staff.

“The information will enable us to see how the ideas fit in with current projects, while also giving us a chance to look at how we can grow these suggestions in the future,” Council’s Director Community Janice Summerhayes.

“We’ll also provide feedback to the schools and young people who participated in the forum.”

Youth Development Officer Vanessa Jennings was full of praise for the young participants, who enthusiastically embraced an opportunity to have their voices heard.

“It was wonderful to watch these confident young people bring forward their ideas in a way that demonstrated just how much they understand the importance of things like water to Lake Albert, access to health services and an increased need for new transport options.”

Council plans to host two youth forums a year, catering to youth 18 years and under and young people aged over 18.

“Going forward these can be built into Council’s project planning, making it easier for us to engage with our city’s youth,” Ms Jennings said.

Pictured Above: Ben Nosworthy, Katie Harper, Holly Mack, Amelia Hanson and Yomith Piyasiridiscuss their bright ideas for Wagga’s future.