Regional Youth Taskforce Meetings
The Regional Youth Taskforce meets regularly to discuss issues affecting regional youth. This page details the topics they discuss and outcomes of their most recent meetings.
The Regional Youth Taskforce members met in Tamworth for their first face-to-face meeting of 2023.
The Taskforce members spent the Saturday getting to know each other with several ice breaker activities. They also worked together on solutions to a range of connectivity concerns including mobile phone usage, the need for more youth events and designated youth spaces, and safety on public transport. Taskforce members visited the Tamworth PCYC and met with staff who provided an overview of the role of the PCYC, the programs on offer, and the ways they support young people in the region.
The Sunday meeting was aligned to the ‘Connectivity’ pillar of the Regional Youth Framework (PDF 3.25MB). Discussion focussed on young people’s transport and digital connectivity solutions to access training, health, work, services, and recreational activities.
Members participated in a digital wellbeing session with Kirra Pendergast, CEO of Safe on Social Media. Members learnt more about cyber safety and ways to use social media for positive outcomes.
Members spent time getting to know the Minister for Regional Youth and sharing their visions for their communities. Members worked in groups to present connectivity solutions to the Minister.
At the meeting in Tamworth, Taskforce members made the following suggestions to improve connectivity outcomes for young people in regional NSW:
- greater promotion of funding opportunities to local Councils and community organisations in regional NSW, to encourage more applications for youth specific events
- more youth consultation in grant program design
- education on mobile phone usage and its impact on mental health earlier, such as in primary school
- young people educating their peers on cyber safety and available supports
- more education for young people on how to navigate public transport
- more designated youth spaces in regional communities
- more resources to existing youth spaces to increase their capacity to support young people
- more information online that is easily accessible for young people including public transport education and usage tools, digital wellbeing tools, cyber safety, local youth activities and events.
The 2022 Regional Youth Taskforce members met in Tweed Heads on 6 November for their fourth and final face-to-face meeting of 2022.
The Taskforce members spent the Saturday before the meeting participating in community activities including a beach clean up and tree planting with Kingscliff Community Dunecare and an on country cultural walk at Fingal Head with Banaam Applied Cultural Intelligence. Taskforce members also met with cofounder of MoneyGirl, Mariam Mohammed for a discussion on strength-based community development.
The Sunday meeting discussion was aligned to the ‘Community’ pillar of the Regional Youth Framework, which is ensuring young people are given the opportunities to explore their creativity, collaborate with others, develop a sense of achievement and feel socially and culturally connected to, and included in, their communities and environment.
Members participated in a panel session with One Mob Radio to discuss the importance of radio and podcasting in connecting communities. They discussed issues impacting cross- border communities and heard from the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation on the work being done in communities impacted by flood. Through a session focusing on inclusive communities, members developed a deeper understanding of inclusion and accessibility for young people with disabilities.
Members visited Byron Youth Services and also joined in a game of wheelchair basketball.
At the meeting in Tweed Heads the Taskforce members made the following suggestions to improve community outcomes for young people in regional NSW:
- More promotion of existing services for young people in regional NSW
- Encouraging more youth volunteering in schools
- Providing community spaces where young people can feel safe and connected
- Providing a range of activities for young people to participate in all year round
- Cultural inclusion in all communities
- Financial literacy courses for young people a part of developing life skills
- Supporting strong leaders to build capacity in local communities
- Improving access to funding after disasters
- Increased disability awareness in communities to improve attitudes towards young people with disabilities
The 2022 Regional Youth Taskforce members met in Sydney for their third face-to-face meeting of 2022.
For the first time, Alumni members from the 2020 and 2021 Regional Youth Taskforce joined current members to discuss a range of issues. The group participated in an environment panel discussion with the Minister for Environment and Heritage, the Hon. James Griffin MP, Treasurer and Minister for Energy, the Hon. Matt Kean MP and the CEO of the Environment Protection Authority, Tony Chappel.
Members also participated in a range of consultations, providing feedback and insights to WorldPride, NSW Health, Office of Sport, DRNSW Aboriginal Outcomes, Department of Education and the Regional Gap Year Campaign. The group also met with the Minister for Mental Health, Regional Health and Women, the Hon. Bronnie Taylor MLC.
The Sunday meeting was aligned to the ‘Connectivity’ pillar of the Regional Youth Framework, focussing discussion on young people’s transport and digital connectivity solutions to access training, health, work, services, and recreational activities.
Current members participated in a digital connectivity session with Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Small Business and Fair Trading, the Hon. Victor Dominello MP. The Taskforce members discussed extra features that they would like to see included on the Service NSW app to assist regional youth and help support them to be independent.
Taskforce members discussed possible solutions to a range of physical connectivity concerns including lack of public transport and cost of travel, cost of obtaining a driver’s licence and driving hours and the lack of community spaces, activities and resources for regional youth.
In the Sydney meeting, the Taskforce members made the following suggestions to improve connectivity outcomes for young people in regional NSW:
- Access to Medicare cards and other identification documents on the Service NSW app
- More digital skills training for young people
- More access to public WiFi for youth in regional areas
- Information on Service NSW app to assist young people to find mental health support in their local areas
- Mobile Youth Hubs that are managed by local councils and travel to smaller regional communities to provide support and resources to regional youth
- Providing fuel subsidies to young people travelling in regional communities for work and study
- More awareness via social media of existing opportunities available to youth in regional communities, such as events, support services and social activities
- Supporting the development of more Youth Councils to raise awareness of connectivity concerns for youth on a local level
- Upgrades and development of community infrastructure and activities for youth
- Subsidised driving lessons for regional youth – provide incentives for volunteers to help young people practice driving and reach their required hours
The 2022 Regional Youth Taskforce members met in Wagga Wagga for their second face-to-face meeting of 2022.
The Taskforce spent the Saturday participating in outdoor activities with the Office of Sport and attended a ‘Tackling Mental Health’ workshop. They also spent time with co-founder of Project ROCKIT, Lucy Thomas OAM.
The Sunday meeting was aligned to the ‘Wellbeing’ pillar of the Regional Youth Framework, focussing discussion on young people’s mental and physical health, safety and opportunities to thrive in their regional communities.
Members participated in two panel sessions with young leaders from the Riverina, including a previous Taskforce member and members of the NSW Youth Advisory Council. Ruby Riethmuller, founder of Womn-Kind and Adam DeMamiel from Boys to the Bush also spoke to Taskforce members about their organisations and their impact on young people in regional communities.
Taskforce members discussed possible solutions to a range of wellbeing concerns including awareness of mental health services, the financial barriers to young people participating in sport and creative pursuits, vaping in schools and cultural connection. The Members then presented these ideas to the Minister for Regional Youth.
The Minister for Education and Early Learning, the Hon. Sarah Mitchell also attended the meeting and spoke with Taskforce members on the issues they raised, such as teacher shortages in remote communities and the need to support LGBTQIA+ youth in schools.
In the Wagga Wagga meeting, the Taskforce members made the following suggestions to improve wellbeing outcomes for young people in regional NSW:
- Encourage professionals and businesses working directly with youth to complete Youth Mental Health First Aid training
- Provide funding support for Aboriginal youth radio and podcast programs to improve cultural connections
- Provide more funding support for youth aged 18 and over for sporting and creative pursuits
- More education and awareness on the impacts of vaping on a young person’s health
- An online resource to assist young people in need of mental health support to locate services in their local area.
The 2022 Regional Youth Taskforce members met in Dubbo for their first face-to-face meeting of 2022.
The Taskforce spent the Saturday getting to know each other through a variety of activities and participated in a cultural experience at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
The Sunday meeting was aligned to the ‘Work Ready’ pillar of the Regional Youth Framework, which is about ensuring regional young people have the opportunity to learn, work and achieve in regional NSW.
Members worked directly with Jillian Kilby, CEO and Founder of The Exchange, to understand the steps of Design Thinking when working on community issues. Jillian helped the members to develop pitches on how to help young people transitioning from school to work. The Members then presented these ideas to the Minister for Regional Youth.
The Taskforce members identified the following key areas which may enable young people in regional NSW to become better prepared to enter the workforce:
- support for dedicated Career Advisors in schools to assist all young people
- importance of young people connecting with social workers for additional support when they are transitioning from school to work or school to university
- benefits of life skill training opportunities focusing on interview skills, job search resources, financial/budgeting skills, starting your own business
- supporting young people with disabilities entering the workforce
- transport for young people to travel for work in regional NSW
- financial support for housing for young people.