Youth heard at as­sem­bly

Shepparton News - Country News - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

For Sey­mour teenagers Chloe Thomas and Cooper Cly­des­dale it was a chance to have their voices heard by the state’s key de­ci­sion mak­ers.

More than 100 lo­cals packed into the Sey­mour Lions clu­b­room on Wed­nes­day for the sec­ond Goul­burn Re­gional As­sem­bly — a type of fo­cus group for re­gional Vic­to­ria.

Young and old from Sey­mour and across the Goul­burn Val­ley shared ta­bles with six of the state’s key min­is­ters to dis­cuss how to solve the prob­lems of the area.

‘‘Our school was look­ing for young stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate so we could im­port our ideas into the com­mu­nity,’’ Chloe said.

She listed men­tal ill­ness and a dis­par­ity be­tween the ser­vices avail­able in her town com­pared to Mel­bourne as some of her key con­cerns.

‘‘They have an in­creased level of ev­ery­thing (in the city), it’s not that we are miss­ing out but there are gaps and that is why we are here,’’ Cooper said.

The two stu­dents voiced their con­cerns with Vic­to­rian Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter James Mer­lino, but were sur­prised that he more or less just sat and lis­tened.

‘‘I was ex­pect­ing a lit­tle bit more in­put, but I guess they were here to seek our ideas,’’ Chloe said.

Not dom­i­nat­ing the dis­cus­sion was in­ten­tional ac­cord­ing to the min­is­ter, who said it was a pos­i­tive sign that so many young peo­ple turned up.

‘‘It’s local com­mu­ni­ties and local re­gions that know the best what they need,’’ Mr Mer­lino said.

Moira Shire Mayor Gary Cleve­land said the is­sues around the Sey­mour area were a bit dif­fer­ent than in Shep­par­ton, which held last year’s in­au­gu­ral as­sem­bly, or his own area, but there was a bit of over­lap.

‘‘It’s peri-ur­ban here, so it’s a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent,’’ Cr Cleve­land said.

Every mayor from across the Goul­burn Val­ley at­tended the night, and if ev­ery­thing goes to plan the next re­gional as­sem­bly will be held in Cr Cleve­land’s Moira re­gion.

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