The future of Loddon has spoken

Published on 08 August 2019

Better public transport, improved access to the internet, increased education opportunities and more sports facilities are what young people have asked for in the Loddon Shire.

More than 200 people from primary school age to young adult have so far been interviewed as part of a Loddon Shire Council plan to retain this important demographic in the region.

Students at East Loddon P-12 College, Pyramid Hill College and the wider community were recently asked to give their feedback on what they see as the essential facilities and services needed to encourage them to stay in the Shire.

Unemployment and underemployment have so far been identified as key issues in the region, with young people wanting better job opportunities in Loddon, as well as more subjects offered during their education to assist with their career pathway.

Improved internet connection and speed in the area are considered a priority by young people, to ensure school work and connections with their friends via social media are not impacted.

Public transport has also been raised as a concern by young people, service providers and community organisations, with reports some people were resorting to hitchhiking due to a lack of services.

Young people interviewed also want more access to gym facilities, a new skate park, music and art programs, and increased spaces where they can feel safe to study and socialise.

Mayor Cheryl McKinnon said the discussions with young people within the Shire had been invaluable.
“The Conversation Caravan has been undertaking a consultation tour of the Shire to discuss what young people would like to see in our Shire, and Council is delighted with the feedback received so far,” Cr McKinnon said.

“This feedback will help Council to develop its Youth Strategy, which will assist Councillors and Council officers in better understanding the needs and wants of our young people. It will also help Council to align the services it provides and work in partnership with other agencies to provide support where it is needed most.

“For matters outside Council’s control, such as public transport and internet services, the findings will be used to advocate with other levels of government to deliver better outcomes for youth in our area.”

The Conversation Caravan is continuing its tour of the Shire, with the final stop at Donaldson Park Wedderburn on Saturday 17 August 2019 for the Wedderburn Redbacks versus Boort Magpies game. Young people are encouraged to voice their opinions, with $300 going to the club who provides the most feedback to the Conversation Caravan.

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