Summit aims high for youth

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
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Port Hedland’s Treasure Vailala joined more than 100 youths from across the State in Perth for the inaugural Youth Summit.

The milestone summit, which was held earlier this month, is part of a plan by the State Government to co-ordinate development of WA’s new Youth Strategy.

Ms Vailala, who joined three other Port Hedland representatives, said the summit was eye-opening and enjoyable.

“One of the issues I raised was that young children in our area were at high risk due to being surrounded by alcohol, drugs, abuse, neglect an other dangerous things,” she said.

“Hearing issues from youth in Perth was really eye-opening and interesting too ... they’re totally different ... because we’re just so remote and rural out here; it was pretty hectic.”

The 19-year-old said she hoped to bring stronger communication and opportunities for youth to share their opinions back to Hedland.

The summit was the culmination of a process that started with the release of a discussion paper last month — Better Choices: Youth in WA — that invited young people and the youth sector in WA to identify and communicate their priorities.

Members of the recently appointed Ministerial Youth Advisory Council facilitated the summit and feedback from the summit will inform the Government’s five-year Youth Strategy and three-year action plan for the improvement of WA’s youth support services.

Youth Minister Peter Tinley said the Youth Strategy would outline a comprehensive and inclusive vision for youth services, programs and support across WA.

“Government has ideas about how the strategy might look but we also recognise that the best people to provide advice about this important issue are the service users — young people,” he said.

“The input from young people at the Youth Summit today was outstanding,” he said.

“There were plenty of creative yet pragmatic ideas about how we in Government can best support young people to make choices about the State’s future.”

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