SAFE and easily accessible public transport options emerged as the top priority in a series of recent forums asking local youth how to create a better Bass Coast over the next four years.
Students aged 13 to 17 from Wonthaggi and Phillip Island secondary schools shared their views on challenges and opportunities for young people in the region in recent community consultation sessions for the Bass Coast Living Young Plan, a four-year plan to empower and connect young people and their families, by improving access to the services and facilities they need, and giving them a strong voice in the community.
As well as increased bus services, especially at night, youth called for a broader range of affordable leisure activities, sporting facilities and hang out spots.
They highlighted mental health issues, study stress, bullying and a lack of job opportunities as some of the biggest challenges facing young people in the region, and wanted more towns to have “safe havens” for youth like Wonthaggi’s Yes Youth Hub.
Over 300 local youth have so far contributed to the Living Young Plan, and consultations are ongoing, with an online survey available until the end of March, via council’s website.
Council’s youth and early years policy and planning officer Joey Boothby said public transport was the theme that kept coming up “again and again” and that this would “definitely be something to look at as part of the plan”.
“Council don’t provide public transport, but we can play an advocacy role and try to influence other levels of government,” she said.
Events, activities and programs for all ages was another consistent theme, Ms Boothby said, with strong support at a consultation session at the Yes Youth Hub for the idea of an open concert space, where young people could plan, run and participate in live music events and learn about event management.
Public transport a top priority for Bass Coast youth