Twelve local young people have been elected to the new Greater Geelong Youth Council, and will now serve as the region’s official ‘youth voice’.
Aged between 12 and 16, the youth councillors represent a wide spread of local towns and suburbs, with three representatives from each of the four Council wards – Bellarine, Brownbill, Kardinia and Windermere.
They will gather later this month to elect Greater Geelong’s first ever Junior Mayor, before being introduced to the community during the Council meeting at City Hall on Tuesday 26 February.
Elected by members of youth advisory groups from within their wards, the youth councillors were successful from a total pool of 49 nominees.
The Youth Council will meet once a month at City Hall. The Junior Mayor will then present the group’s findings and recommendations to Council on a quarterly
Initial priorities will include social and community connections, mental health and wellbeing, and capability (such as skill development, education and employment).
The Youth Council will also be responsible for organising an annual youth summit.
Introduction of a Youth Council was one of the recommendations of the Citizens’ Jury in January 2017, and was endorsed by the state government.
Cr Bruce Harwood - Mayor:
It is very exciting that we now have a Youth Council to help us tap into the issues that are most important to the young people in our community.
The 12 youth councillors are an impressive group and represent a great mix of backgrounds, and they'll each bring their own thoughts and ideas. We're looking forward to receiving their recommendations, which will influence the decisions we make as a Council.
I hope this experience gives the youth councillors a great sense of what public leadership is all about, and inspires them to continue being leaders in their communities in the future. Well done and thank-you to everyone who nominated, and congratulations to the 12 young people elected.
Youth Council biographies:
Most important issues: Equality, mental health, understanding others.
Most important issues: Bullying, alcohol and other drugs, safe homes and education for young people.
Most important issues: Stress, mental health and suicide.
Most important issues: The environment, homelessness, graffiti.
Most important issues: Body image, the environment, homelessness, education.
Most important issues: Mental health, education and support.
Most important issues: Youth employment opportunities, community safety in central Geelong, public transport.
Most important issues: Cyber bullying/social media, school transport, accessible music classes.
Most important issues: Community safety, accessible transport on the Bellarine, the environment.
Most important issues: Mental health, drugs and alcohol, cyber bullying.
Most important issues: Bullying, online safety, environment and sustainability, homelessness, helping those who need it.
Most important issues: Safety, cleaning up central Geelong, tourism and trade in central Geelong.