YOUTH FORUM: Participants at last week's Youth Forum in Byron Bay.
YOUTH FORUM: Participants at last week's Youth Forum in Byron Bay.

Transport, jobs and booze top issues facing Byron youth

STUDENTS from four local high schools - Byron, Mullumbimby, Steiner and Shearwater - came together during National Youth Week last week for a youth forum to discuss issues they faced in the shire.

The forum, facilitated by Deb Pearse and Jemma Brunell, was attended by 45 young people.

"The students came up with some great ideas and solutions which BYS will be feeding back into the larger Building A Better Byron process," Ms Pearce said.

"A big well done also to the Year 9 Mullumbimby BYS Men's group who came up with the title for the forum, Things are Getting Dire, Have Your Say About the Shire.

"The participants almost unanimously agreed that although they cared about Byron Shire they didn't feel connected to it.

"They felt that the main issues for local young people were lack of transport, lack of employment opportunities, issues with legalities concerning youth employment, lack of activities and resources for young people, consequences of drug and alcohol misuse, garbage and littering and lack of alternative education options.

"They also commented that council put money into tourists not young people and thought that cheap food stands and more youth workers around town would help engage young people in town at night in a more positive way.

A questionnaire revealed that 92% of participants knew a young person/persons in our local community who had accessed alcohol via secondary supply.

"The participants also had some positive and unique ideas to tackle problems such as a membership system for buses with suspensions for problem behaviour, 'pay for puke' scheme and information sessions about their employment rights, drug and alcohol education," Ms Pearse said.

"Some have nominated to join a group, facilitated by BYS, which would chose different activities each session for example picking up rubbish, information sharing and making approaches to council relating to their needs.

"There were lots of other great schemes and ideas which BYS will endeavour to follow up on and progress where possible.

"We also want to say thanks to the schools, Byron council, Batbus, the Ministry of Transport and NCRF."


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