By Evelyn Leckie
THE newly-formed Whittlesea Youth Advisory Committee saw their first meeting for the year earlier this month.
City of Whittlesea Mayor Emilia Sterjova and deputy mayor Alahna Desiato met with 15 young councillors to discuss youth issues within the municipality.
Cr Sterjova said at the monthly council meeting that she received positive feedback from the youth group.
“They [youth councillors] didn’t feel it was tokenistic and they felt heard by council,” Cr Sterjova said.
The mayor said young peoples participation in sport was the first topic of discussion.
“Young people were talking about a number of issues facing them… how sport in the local area can be quite expensive when you factor in local sport memberships, equipment and competitions,” Cr Sterjova said.
The lack of accessibility to sport facilities was also discussed.
The youth councillors said being under 18 meant relying on a parent or guardian to drive them to sporting facilities.
“If they don’t feel the local sports club is accessible, then they’re missing out on quality sport and fitness,” Cr Sterjova said.
“We took note of these issues for our future development.”
Youth mental health was also a major topic that was discussed.
The expense of counselling services were noted and the idea of workshops were discussed.
Cr Sterjova petitioned to start a youth advisory committee last year.
“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.
“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.”
Narjas Al Bahrani, Tabitha Anderson, Annie Beard, Savhannah Brennan, Miranda Coulson, Elise Dow, Chloe Falzon, Bineet Gujral, Zara Khan, Korra Koperu, Queen Kury, Sheriline Lay, Jibreel Rafiq, Aron Raward and Tiffany Tournier make up this year’s City of Whittlesea youth advisory committee.