Armidale Regional Council is backing young people to determine which youth services should get priority funding in the city.
Council endorsed a Youth Strategy and Youth Action Plan on Wednesday, which were developed during a forum in August.
The forum critiqued a youth services review, which Council’s administrator Ian Tiley put out on public exhibition, and prepared a youth action plan that was embedded in a youth strategy and presented to Council on Wednesday.
The strategy covers a broad range of projects that will benefit young people in the Armidale community.
Council will meet with the city’s youth leaders to prioritise spending and plan for the 2017/2018 budget.
“It has to be them taking the lead,” Dr Tiley said.
“It’s not about civic fathers deciding what’s best.
“I’ll sit down with them and we will workshop it and get some key priorities.”
Some of the issues raised in the action plan were access to information, mental health services, employment and training opportunities and low-cost youth activities.
The plan also addressed youth leadership, alcohol and drugs, and community participation.
Dr Tiley said he was disappointed the previous Council failed to act on the issue and that he intended to embed a culture of youth consultation and spending in Council.
“I don’t mean to be critical of the previous council, but when a council fails to put out a youth services review for public consultation and exhibition what does it tell you - it's pretty sad,” he said.
“I’m about locking the council into supporting young people well into the future.
“If I can get things happening … the new council picks that apart at its own peril.
“Once they get a taste for inclusion, for self-determination, … that empowers young people and in time it will empower others too.”
Council intends to meet with youth leaders later this year and again early next year to discuss strategic priorities. Dr Tiley said there was not a lot of money available until next year but that their meetings would help Council budget for youth services in the future.
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