Youth voice

YOUNG leaders will have a chance to advise City of Whittlesea councillors on youth-specific issues with the introduction of a new youth advisory committee.

The City of Whittlesea Youth Advisory Committee will allow young people to identify and advocate for issues important to them, and interact and share information with the council.

The committee will consist of eight to 15 members aged between 12 and 25 years who either live, work, study, access services or have another type of significant connection to the City of Whittlesea.

Cr Emilia Sterjova said a youth advisory committee would assist council to make decisions that better reflected the views of young people in the municipality.

“I am absolutely elated to see the youth advisory committee finally endorsed and adopted by council,” Cr Sterjova said.

“I think this would provide a meaningful opportunity for young people to be involved in the decision making processes of council.”

The 22-year old councillor was 19 when she was elected to represent the north ward of the municipality – making her the youngest ever City of Whittlesea councillor.

“One of the reasons I ran for council was, I didn’t believe young peoples’ opinions were truly considered – I felt it was the elder generation making decisions on our behalf,” Cr Sterjova said.

Cr Sterjova visited several councils who had youth advisory comittees – including Moreland and Mitchell Shire.

“The committee will be an excellent opportunity for young people to learn leadership skills, learn about civic life and get themselves involved in the community,” she said.

Cr Sterjova and Cr Alahnah Desiato are the two nominated councillors to be representatives on the Youth Advisory Committee.

Young people will be selected by a panel, consisting of a councillor, a council youth officer and four other young people already involved in council’s youth programs.

Youth committee members, who will be elected for 12 months, will meet quarterly, starting January 2020.

The commitee will have two co-chairpersons – one a councillor and one a young person elected by the committee.