New taskforce to advocate for regional youth


The Regional Youth Taskforce will get a brand-new look with Minister for Regional Youth Ben Franklin announcing 18 new young leaders from across regional NSW who will advocate for their peers and deliver positive outcomes for young people.

Mr Franklin and Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall met with 2 of the new members in Uralla and said the Taskforce will provide policy and operational advice to the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government to advance the needs of young people in the regions.

“This group has been selected from more than 140 applicants, and includes two young people from each of the State’s 9 regions who will meet throughout the year to focus on the NSW Regional Youth Framework pillars: work readiness, wellbeing, connectivity and community,” Mr Franklin said.

“Throughout the year the Taskforce will join me and senior representatives from Government and its agencies to have their say about services, programs and infrastructure that is important to them.

“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government knows there’s no better way to be informed on the issues that matter to young people in regional and rural NSW than to hear them directly from this exceptional group of young people.

“In the role, our 18 new members will hone their skills in driving policy change, advocate for real outcomes for young people, and provide a voice for regional youth within the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government.

Katie Barnett from Kentucky says she’s thrilled to represent rural and regional Australia and, most importantly, her region of New England North West.

“I feel privileged to have this opportunity and am looking forward to my time on the 2023 Regional Youth Taskforce. I’d like to see more opportunities for young people in my community including more employment, better housing and education,” Ms Barnett said.

Fellow Taskforce Member Jack Lyon echoed her sentiments.

“Young people, no matter what walk of life they come from, deserve more opportunities and better outcomes in the future than they have now,” Mr Lyon said.

“I want to see more work ready outcomes, youth empowerment, a stronger sense of community and perhaps a different focus for how to prevent youth mental health problems.”

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall congratulated Katie and Jack on their appointment.

“Kate and Jack will be excellent ambassadors and advocates for the needs of our region and their peers – I wish them every success,” Mr Marshall said.

Mr Franklin thanked the outgoing 2022 Regional Youth Taskforce for their input guiding major NSW Government policy decisions.

“Some of the 2022 Taskforce’s achievements include raising awareness of the need for more mental health support for regional young people, improving messaging to youth about the harms of vaping and inclusion and awareness for LGBTQIA+ young people living in the regions,” Mr Franklin said.

“I congratulate the members of the new 2023 Taskforce and look forward to working with them and hearing their views on how the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government can continue to serve young people across regional NSW.”

Get more information on the Regional Youth Taskforce.

The 18 members of the fourth Regional Youth Taskforce are:

The 18 members of the Force Regional Taskforce

Name of appointeeTownRegion

Janine Southwell

TerrigalCentral Coast
Lachlan MiddlemissUmina BeachCentral Coast
Poppy StarrCowraCentral West & Orana
Jasmine BaillieBinnawayCentral West & Orana
Faith DevlinBroken HillFar West
Max BurrowsBroken HillFar West
Jorji TaaffeMerriwaHunter
Jessica PatmanWarners BayHunter
Laila ZakeljOak FlatsIllawarra – Shoalhaven
Axl ReevesVincentiaIllawarra – Shoalhaven
Katie BarnettKentuckyNew England & North West
Jack LyonCalalaNew England & North West
Genevieve CollinsBrierfieldNorth Coast
John PalenciaCoffs HarbourNorth Coast
Hailey CruzEstellaRiverina Murray
Daniel CroftsNorth AlburyRiverina Murray
Meika LindsayRoyallaSouth East & Tablelands
Shaun FitzpatrickSouth PambulaSouth East & Tablelands

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