Where are all the young people?
Hornsby Shire Council will reach out to younger members of the community in an attempt to get them more actively involved in local government.
“You can see the problem at every meeting or forum that Council conducts, where the demographic is enormously skewed towards the older generations,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock said.
“We greatly value the input of the people who attend, but they are not representative of the entire community and the debate inevitably becomes skewed towards the interests of the older generations.
“The decisions we make affect everybody and if we are truly to represent the community we need to hear from all of its members.”
Council will investigate better ways to communicate with young people, especially in relation to upcoming events and meetings.
Council will also explore the feasibility of a community forum specifically targeting youth.
“This problem is not unique to Hornsby Shire and councils throughout the state have the same difficulties attracting the attention of younger people,” Mayor Ruddock said.
“However, that is no excuse for ignoring what is a very real problem. We are going to try to do something about it.”
The proposal was put forward by Councillor Joe Nicita, who at 23 is one of the youngest people ever to sit on Hornsby Shire Council.
He says there are a range of reasons young people tend to avoid local government politics.
“It’s all about false perceptions, the idea that it’s too complicated for young people to understand or there’s no point trying because their voice won’t be heard,” Cr Nicita said.
“Of course, there’s no denying that it can be quite dull, but it’s certainly worth the effort to overcome that hurdle.
“This is the future of our Shire we are talking about and nobody has a greater stake in that than the younger members of our community. Their voice needs to be heard.”