Updated: Aug 25
I consider myself lucky to have lived in Brunswick as I transitioned from being a young person into young adulthood, I had everything I needed in terms of housing, jobs and connection to community, however after working and volunteering in the youth sector for over 15 years I recognise the importance of services that Council can provide to our 30,000 young people living in Moreland.
Firstly, the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of young people should not be under estimated and that into the future, Council will have to provide a range of services to the community that address the needs of young people in this space. Oxygen Youth Space is an important Council service in this field and I want to make sure that I fully support and provide resource for this service whilst servicing my time in Council, as traditional drop in services will need to be teamed with more online solutions as this helps young people where they are.
Another issue that the Covid-19 emergency has uncovered is the impact on young peoples employment. It has shown us the disproportionate number of young people who are underemployed or in unstable employment and this not only puts pressure on their potential to earn a decent wage, but also on their mental health.
Council needs to provide programs that help young people into jobs. This can be achieved through local business, as we know that in Moreland, hospitality, retail and arts have been hit hard, these industries nationally employ 45% of young people with Moreland being no exception in this regard. By helping local businesses Council is supporting the lives of young people.
With youth unemployment rising to 16% we know that the long term effects on young people not being able to participate or enter the workforce is not only detrimental to their long term work prospects, but also detrimental to their lives in general. Under or unemployment also affects young people’s ability to participate in higher education. Brunswick has historically been the area of choice for students, meaning that if young people cant support themselves through study, then Brunswick will lose a demographic of people that significantly contribute the culture and economy of Moreland.
The stress of being underemployed also plays into the local housing market, as the affordability and type of dwelling who can live in Brunswick. I want to ensure that young people have places to live in Brunswick, if we keep building massive apartment blocks of 1 or 2 bedroom apartments, we lose the share houses of students and the vibrant young community of people along with it.
Feeling connected to a local community is also important for young people, and as I have said previously, making sure that we have spaces for young people to connect with each other is important. I want to make sure that Council provide recreational spaces that give young people a sense of community and allows them to just feel at home.
Council can help young people in a myriad of ways, however providing and coordinating services is one of the biggest ways to making sure that young people get the right type of support if and when they need it.
Lastly, the above are only ideas that come from my long time spent in the youth sector, and whilst I would be a strong advocate for young people in Moreland, I would make sure that Council maintain and develop the Youth Advisory committee in order for it to continue making and impact in Moreland. I want all young people to know that I will be an ally in making sure they are heard and taken seriously as contributors in our community.