Northern Midlands seeks to inspire young leaders

YOUTH VOICE: Northern Midlands councillor Mary Knowles says local councils need to have fresh input from young people. Picture: Tess Brunton
YOUTH VOICE: Northern Midlands councillor Mary Knowles says local councils need to have fresh input from young people. Picture: Tess Brunton

Sending young Northern Tasmanians from regional areas to leadership conferences is invaluable inspiration, Northern Midlands councillor Mary Knowles says.

Her comments follow a decision by the Northern Midlands Council to support two regional students to attend the 2017 Tasmanian Youth Local Government conference.

“We thought it was a fantastic idea. We need younger people to be enthusiastic and to be involved,” Cr Knowles said.

“They’re really, really important for smaller council because we haven’t got the budget larger councils have so we can’t offer as many or as diverse programs as some can. It’s important we encourage young people to attend those programs we can offer or support.”

Sending young people to these types of events was invaluable in inspiring them, she said.

She recently attended the Local Government Association of Tasmania conference, where Victoria’s youngest councillor, aged 20, spoke.

“She gave us a terrific talk, she’s as enthusiastic as can be and they’re the sorts of people we need in council,” Cr Knowles said.

Young people brought a completely different spin to an issue and “we need their point of view”, she said. “Their voices are just as important as everybody elses.”

The council voted to sponsor to two passionate Northern Midland participants for $90 each to attend a regional conference and Hobart-based conference.

“Young people are the future, they’re going to be the decision-makers.”

2017 Tasmanian Youth Local Government convener Amber Scott said, in a message for the event’s brochure, the program enabled young people from across the state to act as an outlet for Tasmania’s best and brightest to discuss key issues facing our areas of local government. “Through a series of workshops, speaker’s panels and debate days, Youth Local Government aims to engage young people with Tasmanian issues, empower them to create local solutions.”

The council’s Further Education Bursary Committee will assess applicants, who must demonstrate a passion for the Northern Midlands community