Murray youths speak up during minister’s visit

School visit: Murray-Wellington MP Robyn Clarke and Western Australian Youth Minister Peter Tinley with students from across the Peel region at the forum on June 7. Photo: Supplied.
School visit: Murray-Wellington MP Robyn Clarke and Western Australian Youth Minister Peter Tinley with students from across the Peel region at the forum on June 7. Photo: Supplied.

Students from across the Peel region attended a youth forum at Pinjarra Senior High School on June 7, to address a range of issues including transport, mental health, employment, and education and training.

The forum was hosted by Murray-Wellington MP Robyn Clarke and attended by the Western Australian Youth Minister Peter Tinley. 

Tasked with helping develop the McGowan Government draft a Youth Strategy, Ms Clarke held the forum to ensure the concerns of youth in the Murray-Wellington electorate were considered and represented in the plan. 

A state-wide first, when finalised the Youth Strategy will provide a blueprint for the coordination of services to young people, a vehicle to help celebrate the achievements of WA’s youth and a mechanism for young people to have a more proactive say about their own futures.

Representatives from Pinjarra Senior High School, Harvey Senior High School, Waroona Family Support Services and the Shire of Murray’s Youth Reference Group attended the event. 

“The main aim of the visit was to allow the Minister for Youth to hear firsthand what issues are being faced by young people in this region, and also so that I could get a stronger understanding of how young people in the area feel about issues of importance. 

“The minister and I got some great feedback during the forum that really highlighted where the major concerns for youth are.

“Transport certainly stood out as the biggest issue of the day.

“For young people that are unable to drive, there are a lot more restrictions on employment options and access to services than there are for those with a car.” 

She said the forum was important as the issues and opportunities in the regions were different to those in the metropolitan area.

“For this strategy to work for the whole of WA it needs to have input from the regions.

“A strategy such as this hasn’t been done before, and if it even just begins conversations about how we can improve the quality of services provided to youth in regional areas it will be a major step forward,” she said. 

Mr Tinley said his visit to Pinjarra was part of an ongoing consultation process.

He said that process was designed to fine tune the draft Youth Strategy and produce an effective and sustainable document.

“My expectations were more than met during the meeting, with the young participants discussing a broad range of topics including mental health, what the future workplace might look like, accessibility to services and social media.

“It is important to capture this kind of feedback in order to fully inform the Youth Strategy and make it meaningful to young people.”

Ms Clarke has also been on the front foot to push for upgrades to Murray schools ahead of the region’s tipped population growth.

“I have made it very clear to [Mr Tinley and Education Minister Sue Ellery] about the need for better facilities in schools, particularly at Pinjarra Senior High School,” she said. 

“Given the current budget situation I know that this will not be fixed immediately, but I have met with [Pinjarra Senior High School], the Shire of Murray and the Department of Education around facilities at the school and it is something that I am continuing to push for with the Ministers and the Department.”