Students took part in a workshop at Southern Cross University aimed at identifying region’s priorities in the future. Pictured, from left, are Logan Freeborn, of Nimbin Central School, Maya Wills, of Byron Bay High School, Joshua Manning, from Southern Cross K-12, and Jubab Howells, of Emmanuel Anglican College.
Students took part in a workshop at Southern Cross University aimed at identifying region’s priorities in the future. Pictured, from left, are Logan Freeborn, of Nimbin Central School, Maya Wills, of Byron Bay High School, Joshua Manning, from Southern Cross K-12, and Jubab Howells, of Emmanuel Anglican College. Hamish Broome

Exodus of our young the biggest regional issue of all

THREE out of four of the students pictured above are planning on leaving the Northern Rivers as soon as they finish school.

One wants to study music in Brisbane because "that's where the best courses are", another one wants to get out of the "Byron Bay bubble", while for the other it's simply an obvious stepping stone into the wider world.

On Tuesday these four teenagers joined 30 other students at a workshop at Southern Cross University about regional priorities for the future.

How to help more young people to stay, or at least be able to return after a few years away, was not far from their thoughts.

Ballina's Emmanuel College student Jubab Howells said the departure of so many left a "hole" in the region.

He said there was no easy answer to the riddle.

"In order to battle that perhaps we can increase the number of universities here," Jubab said.

"We're talking about providing a larger variety of jobs as well, not just trades or retail."

On a different note, no-one would disagree with Byron Bay High School student Maya Wills' conclusion that rural roads were well below par.

So bad it was "scary to be a L-plater", she said.

"All of our rural areas - it's so dangerous to drive on," Maya said.

"Especially as a learner, everyone's going 80kmh on these tiny roads and it's terrifying."

Maya said public transport was also a key issue for those people who couldn't afford to drive or wanted to be more sustainable.

Josh Manning, from Ballina's Southern Cross K-12, said the sustainability of natural heritage was a core issue, such as indigenous history and surf culture.

"The natural culture we have is what draws a lot of the tourism in and it's also a big part of our everyday lives," Josh said.

He said it was crucial to find a balance between economic growth and the natural environment.



Huge airline sale: Fly from Ballina to Sydney for $65

Huge airline sale: Fly from Ballina to Sydney for $65

Get in quick - this sale ends at midnight

Why rail trail is more important then ever to council boss

premium_icon Why rail trail is more important then ever to council boss

Northern Rivers Rail Trail is well and truly on the agenda

Local Partners