Noosa's future looks bright with a group of students raising the voice for young people on issues important to them.
The Noosa Youth Advocacy Group was formed by the Noosa Environmental Education Hub (Noosa EEHub) to provide a platform for Noosa's young people to present their views on community issues.
Student representatives from Good Shepherd Lutheran College, St Andrews and Sunshine Beach State High School will officially launch the new Group at Noosa's Community Environment & Sustainability Group Forum on Wednesday, 25 November.
Co-director of the Noosa EEHub, Dalia Mikhail said students she works with are eager to have a voice in the community.
"We work with students from schools across our region and they are all passionate about being involved in decisions that will affect their future, particularly in regard to issues concerning the environment and climate change," said Ms Mikhail.
Noosa EEHub started their school extension programs last year after receiving seed-funding from the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation.
The Group's youth representatives are supported by the Noosa EEHub and call upon participation from external parties such as council's officers and environmental group representatives.
The Advocacy Group's program is designed by the students and provides a mechanism for students to raise their concerns and be responded to directly by council staff or councillors.
"This Group provides our youth with engagement on key council strategies, such as the Climate Change Response Plan. Councillors Brian Stockwell, Amelia Lorentson and Tom Wegener have been very supportive of this initiative and we are grateful to have received a small amount of funding from the Noosa Council Environment Grant," said Ms Mikhail.
"The world is changing at such pace that now more than ever the informed voice of our youth needs to be heard when developing key policies and plans that affect their future opportunities. While you have to be 18 to vote, all teenagers can actively and meaningfully participate in our local democracy," commented Cr Brian Stockwell.
"After only formalising our committee last month, we are already working to deliver a Youth Climate Summit as part of council's Climate Week in March 2021 as well as provide feedback on some key strategies such as the Queensland Government's surfing reserves survey and addressing sustainable transport solutions for youth from the coast to the hinterland.
"The ideas and enthusiasm are flowing from the Group and I can see this becoming a showcase for other communities who want to take real action for change in their communities," said Ms Mikhail.
Chair of the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation, Rex Halverson says the new Group provides a much-needed voice in our community.
"The Noosa Youth Advocacy Group will provide an important perspective that's been missing on decisions affecting how we live and interact within our Noosa Biosphere. We look forward to inviting a Youth Rep to join our advisory board in the new year," Mr Halverson said.
The Noosa EEHub invites other interested youth representatives to make contact and is seeking corporate sponsors to help grow this program. Interested parties can contact Dalia at www.noosaeehub.com.au.