Steph Cooke and Khawlah Asmaa Albaf stand close together and smile at the camera.

Young people from the Cootamundra electorate are encouraged to apply to be a part of next year’s Regional Youth Taskforce, a Ministerial advocacy group which will have a direct line to government to raise local issues faced by friends and classmates.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said applications are now open for young people aged between 12 and 24 who want to have a say on the needs of their peers when it comes to services, programs and infrastructure in the region.

Ms Cooke said the Taskforce will be made up of 18 members who will meet regularly with the Minister for Regional Youth and other representatives from NSW Government agencies and cabinet.

“The Cootamundra electorate is brimming with passionate young people who want to make a difference in their communities. This is a chance to have your say on the issues that matter to you, to represent your communities and be part of decision making,” Ms Cooke said.

“In the inaugural Taskforce Khawlah Asmaa Albaf from Young did an amazing job representing the Cootamundra electorate and her peers. She has set a tremendous example for her successors and I thank her for being part of this initiative.”

“2020 has been a challenging year but has been particularly tough on young people, which means it has never been more important to make sure the experiences and opinions of young regional people are heard.”

“We know each region has different challenges, so we are seeking an even representation of two members from each of the nine NSW regions and we are looking for applications from everybody, not just the best and brightest, but those who can talk with experience.”

Minister for Regional Youth Bronnie Taylor MLC said the since its formation late last year, the inaugural Regional Youth Taskforce has provided advice and feedback on local issues resulting in immediate action and work undertaken to deliver real improvements.

“It is hard to believe that almost a year has passed since NSW’s first Regional Youth Taskforce came together to have a hand in making decisions and create change, but 2021 is around the corner and it’s time for more voices to raise fresh ideas,” Mrs Taylor said.

“In the brief time the 18 members of the 2020 Taskforce have worked together they have fed into youth strategies, made changes to the process for upgrading a P1 driver’s license online and advised on a holiday program for families living in drought,” Mrs Taylor said.

“I want to personally thank each of the outgoing members from the 2020 Taskforce for their passion and commitment to supporting young people in regional NSW and urge every young person with an idea to make the time to apply to be involved next year.”

Travel costs and accommodation will be covered for Regional Youth Taskforce members travelling across NSW for meetings.

To find out more or submit an application visit www.nsw.gov.au/regional-nsw/regional-youth-taskforce

Applications are open from 3 September to 18 October 2020.