Young leaders voice concerns for youth

Young leaders voice concerns for youth

Local students from the South Metropolitan region and member for Burt Matt Keogh at the youth forum earlier this year. Photograph - Aaron Van Rongen.

Local student leaders have decided the government’s top priorities for the youth community are stereotypes and prejudice, mental health, domestic violence and climate change.

The leaders of tomorrow had their say on March 13 during the Annual Burt Youth Leadership Forum.

Member for Burt Matt Keogh has been hosting the event for three consecutive years in the hope of getting young people’s opinions considered by decision makers in government.

During the event students were asked what they believed the most important issue confronting the nation was.

The passionate young leaders presented Mr Keogh a series of speeches including education funding and policies, importance of family, political thought, alcohol abuse and fake news.

“Some of the issues that were raised today are not just young people issues, they are a whole society issues,” he said.

“Some of these topics have come year after year and it tells us that young people are not feeling like those issues are being addressed.

“Through this event students are given the opportunity to share their thoughts on what we can do to make our community better.”

Lumen Christi College student leaders’ main concern was mental health as they believed young people often went through depression and anxiety without receiving the right resources.

Year 12 student Mitchell Wise who struggled with mental health in the past, said he enjoyed the forum but wished they were more frequent.

“I struggled with anxiety during my ATAR examinations and the school was able to facilitate resources by giving me extra time and understanding what I was going through while I was getting the help I needed,” he said.

Southern River College student Holly Tasker who is currently getting help for her anxiety said these forums were extremely helpful.

“It felt really empowering to be able to represent people because when we are young it is very hard sometimes to express our words sometimes,” she said.

“This is a very cool forum that allows us to address it to leaders, and although is a bit nerve racking it is still very important to others students as well.

“I think the government needs to help promote education about mental health but also help those with mental health issues, especially those in public schools as they may be disadvantaged due to certain circumstances.”

Mr Keogh also had a chat with students about the possibility of lowering the voting age to what he received some very varied responses of yes and no.

Following on this year’s conversation with students Mr Keogh will be presenting some of these issues to the prime minister.