Members of the Mitchell Shire Youth Council were sworn in online due to COVID-19 restrictions during Mitchell Shire Council's ordinary meeting on Monday last week.

SEVEN young people from across Mitchell Shire have been sworn in as the municipality’s youth council for the next 12 months.

The youth council is an advisory body that consults with Mitchell Shire Council on issues important to young people across the region.

In the past 12 months the youth council has helped organise events such as a clothes swap to promote fashion sustainability and help educate people about the environmental impacts of fast fashion.

This year’s youth council is a mix of new and returning representatives.

Thomas Starkey, Trinity Marshall, Paris Ingham and Georgia Fletcher have all returned, while Rebecca Garth, Cooper Price and Joshua Dixon are first-time youth councillors.

Thomas, in his fifth year on the council, was elected youth mayor on Monday last week.

Georgia will serve as deputy youth mayor, while Trinity will be secretary.

Mitchell Shire Council Mayor Rhonda Sanderson commended the youth council for showing leadership.

“We’ve all found the past 12 to 18 months quite challenging with COVID, and I really believe that this youth council will have a strong role to play as our community recovers,” she said.

“Their unified voice will provide us with the ability to understand our municipality’s younger population and their needs.

“While we may not have been able to hold the usual number of events this past year, our youth council haven’t let us down; they’ve rallied to ensure that young people were supported.”

Council youth development officer Jessica Watts said she was fortunate to be able to work with the youth council.

“Since July, youth council have shared their passions and ideas for young people in the shire and given their insight into the draft health and wellbeing plan and supported the adoption of the environmentally sustainable design policy for council,” she said.

“The youth council have banded together during these tough times to become an incredibly supportive group that strive towards their goal to be a consistent voice for young people.”

Cr Sanderson said the youth councillors were ‘outstanding examples of the capabilities of young people throughout our townships’.

“The senior council will be engaging with the youth council to gauge their opinions in the decision-making processes that govern the entire shire. These young people and others deserve to have a say,” she said.

“By listening to and addressing issues that affect young people across the shire, Mitchell Youth Council will be directing services, events and environments that they want within their townships.

“They have been instrumental in advocating for services to support young people in our shire.

“We opened a new youth hub in Wallan earlier this year and we’re now working really hard towards a community wellbeing hub for Seymour.”

Positions on Mitchell Youth Council are open to members between the ages of 12 and 24.

For more information, people can visit www.mitchellshire.vic.gov.au/services/youth-services/youth-council.

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