Be brave and innovative for our youth
HOW CAN the government look after youth better? That is what Bronnie Taylor, parliamentary secretary to Deputy Premier John Barilaro was in the Clarence Valley to find out.
In a private meeting on Friday afternoon, youth and youth advocates from the Clarence and Richmond valley's gathered to discuss policy.
"I'm really inspired by your Our Healthy Clarence initiative that you took on, people are talking about it all across the state,” Ms Taylor said.
"I reckon nothing works better than a local community looking for local solutions.”
Ms Taylor said they'd talked about transport, youth activities and Clarence Youth Action talked about wanting more music festivals.
"The people from Casino were talking about how they did a disco and how people came,” Ms Taylor said.
"They talked about jobs and opportunity.”
Ms Taylor also held discussions with local schools and discovered that youth want to stay in their communities.
"What we have to do is target gaps in employment better, we've got to look at the places that need training and providing pathways,” she said.
"We talked a lot about mental health, prevention. and wrap around services.”
This initiative was part of a state-wide program where the government has run more than 30 sessions with youth and advocates to find out what they are looking for in their communities.
"We've run sessions with all of the NGOs and GOs, we're also collating information from the Youth Advocate who talked to over 4000 young people and we're doing some research as well,” she said.
"Not it's going to be my job to collate this information with all the help from everyone... and ten we have to come up with some good, responsible policy that will suit everyone.
"One thing we need to be mindful of is one size doesn't fit all, we need to find something that is a bit more flexible and a bit more nimble for these communities.”
Ms Taylor said a lot of the communities they'd visited have been crying out for more to be done.
"People are saying there are lots of different services in these communities, but people don't know what those services are and how to access them,” Ms Taylor said.
"They want those services to work better together. I think that we're missing that coordination point.”
She added that in the Southern NSW, they are trialling a school nurse program which is helping bridge those gaps.
"We can't keep doing the same thing and expect different outcomes, we have to be brave, innovative and we've got to have the courage to try something different,” Ms Taylor said.