Western Sydney youth share ideas for future

DIY reality: Youth Action Western Sydney members Melody Gardiner, Susan Chen, Alex Long, Ananada Vasudevan and Lawrence Muskitta at the report's launch. Picture: Gene Ramirez

DIY reality: Youth Action Western Sydney members Melody Gardiner, Susan Chen, Alex Long, Ananada Vasudevan and Lawrence Muskitta at the report's launch. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Young people from across the western Sydney region have contributed their hearts and minds to a report that aims to improve the western suburbs and the lives of those within them.

The first DIY reality report, officially released at the Parramatta Heritage Centre by Youth Action on Tuesday, followed months of consultations with young people during 2013 that culminated in the What's Up West? youth conference at Penrith.

Carlingford's Ning Zhang, 17, said more than 100 young people attended the Penrith conference last year, which armed young people with methods to "get their ideas out" into the community.

"I really hope the report changes the stigma and the negative stereotypes about western Sydney," Ms Zhang said.

"It shows a lot of western Sydney youth are actually really passionate about their community and are looking to change things."

Youth Action's western Sydney project co-ordinator, Alex Long, said the report's 21 recommendations offered a valuable insight into not only what young people thought about different issues, but also potential solutions.

READ THE FULL LIST: Click here to read the full list of recommendations.

"What individuals can do, what communities can do and what government can do," Ms Long said.

The recommendations range from the construction of an integrated western Sydney bike track; a commitment from the state government and its agencies to only procure goods and services from ethical sources without slave or child labour in their supply chains and for governments to provide more support for young asylum seekers in detention.

The report will now be used to advocate for change, with government ministers set to be lobbied to support the ideas of their future electors and their visions for the future.

"We'll be writing to Education Minister Adrian Piccoli specifically around policy to combat homophobia and transphobia in schools," Ms Long said.

Some recommendations:

■ For western Sydney’s councils to co-ordinate a plan to build an integrated bike track network to help combat climate change.

■ For the NSW Department of Education & Communities to develop policies to combat homophobia and transphobia in schools and provide support for students.

■ The state government incorporate a more inclusive concept of Australian culture in national events like Anzac Day.

■ The education department clarify roles teachers and school counsellors play in mental health care.

■ The Health Department ensures all NSW schools develop and implement mental health policies.

■ The state government encourage young indigenous leadership in western Sydney.

■ For governments to provide more support for young asylum seekers in detention, specifically health, mental health and education.


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