Cotter welcomes green light for Campbelltown youth plan

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There are almost 30,000 young residents aged 12 to 19 within the Campbelltown local government area.

That’s around 17 per cent of the total LGA population.

And as in most places, they don’t get to have much of a say in what happens in their local area.

Well, things are changing, at least here in Campbelltown thanks to one of the young councillors elected in 2021, Josh Cotter.

If there’s one thing Cr Cotter knows is young people, because all his adult life he has been working with them.

And more recently he has been chairing the council youth advisory committee.

So it’s no surprise that he has been the driving force behind a new youth plan for Campbelltown, which received the green light at last Tuesday night’s council meeting.

During debate, Cr Cotter was keen to emphasise that Campbelltown City Youth Plan 2024 – 2030: Our Journey, Our Future, wasn’t just paying lip service to youth engagement, including giving them a voice.

“This is a youth plan for our youth by our youth, and it is definitely not just ticking boxes,’’ Cr Cotter said.

He has told the South West Voice since the meeting he’s convinced this plan will make a real difference on a number of levels.

“Since being elected I have been strongly advocating for the future leaders of our city – our young people,’’ Cr Cotter said.

“If we don’t invest in them, where will Campbelltown head?

“It’s important to listen, learn and create action for our young people and the professionals who work to support our young people every day.

“This youth plan gives a proper strategic direction and framework to support the youth of Campbelltown,’’ he said.

“It’s not just another plan to throw in the drawer, it’s a plan authentically engaging our youth – for our youth.

“It’s great to have youth events throughout the year, but to have a proper strategy and plan with outcomes to support these events is going to make it a lot more successful.

“Additionally, our new Youth Action Team will be engaging their peers and the wider community to better inform council and our decision making,’’ Cr Cotter said.

Above: One of the engagement events for the youth plan; top, Cr Cotter, third from left, along with is wife Jess and some of the young people who took part in last year’s Youth Solutions charity golf day.

The youth plan seeks to provide clear tactical direction for council’s resources, partnerships, community engagement and advocacy to support the ambition of young people, according to a report tabled on Tuesday night.

“It also ensures that best practice support and services are delivered for young people and that young people are engaged and the community is responsive to their needs.

“The plan outlines how young people will be empowered to participate in community life.’’

The youth plan offers six key themes that relate to young people in Campbelltown: opportunities, connection, safety, wellbeing, voice and sustainability.

The youth plan was developed with input from young people and youth service providers; around 2,000 individuals were consulted.

Now that it has been endorsed by council, the plan will be launched during Youth Week 2024 on April 11-21.

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