Youth to talk drought solutions at summit

PHOTOS: Young people talk drought with UNICEF at summit

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YOUNG LEADERS: (Top row) Emily Newton, Sally Downie, Patrick Blomfield, Joanna Treasure, Elly Byriell, Leo Fitzpatrick and Kate Currans (main picture) will attend the UNICEF Australia Youth Summit in Lake Macquarie.

YOUNG LEADERS: (Top row) Emily Newton, Sally Downie, Patrick Blomfield, Joanna Treasure, Elly Byriell, Leo Fitzpatrick and Kate Currans (main picture) will attend the UNICEF Australia Youth Summit in Lake Macquarie.

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Young people from across NSW will take part in the UNICEF Australia Youth Drought Summit.

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They're on the frontline in the worst drought in living memory.

They're battling to keep their family farms alive, they're dealing with circumstances nobody should ever have to face and they're watching their beloved local towns struggle to survive.

Some have already seen generations of farming history come to an end as financial pressures took away their dream of one day taking over.

They are our youth and they are eager to share their lessons and solutions to the ongoing drought crisis.

Their voices have largely gone unheard in the drought debate, but that is about to change.

They are heavily affected. There is horrible anxiety for young people as they watch their parents go through financial stress. A lot of young people who are about to, or have, lost generational farming. They are rightly asking why aren't we better prepared for this? - UNICEF Australia's head of policy and advocacy, Amy Lamoin

One hundred people aged between 14 and 24 from regional and remote NSW will unleash their thoughts at UNICEF Australia's first youth summit on living with drought.

It will be convene between October 9 and 11 at Lake Macquarie.

A steering committee of 12 young people will guide participants through the three-day agenda, which includes taking a look at current drought policies and discussing solutions to the big dry.

Time will also be spent discussing how to navigate well-being, self care and mental health at an individual and community level.

The participants will create a list of recommendations that will be released on October 11 and included in a report to the state government.

"They will make a series of calls to MPs and senior officials around what they want going forward and we think that will include young people having a say on the national drought policy," UNICEF Australia's head of policy and advocacy, Amy Lamoin, said.

"They are heavily affected.

"There is horrible anxiety for young people as they watch their parents go through financial stress.

"A lot of young people who are about to, or have, lost generational farming.

"The impact of watching what is happening to the landscape, the livestock, the communities they have grown up in and are proud of.

"They are rightly asking why aren't we better prepared for this?" said Ms Lamoin.

The youth drought summit aims to find solutions to challenges at an individual, household, school, community and services level.

"We've got a good space of ages and geographic locations who are farm based and town based so that has given us a really good cross-section and balance," she said.

Ms Lamoin said the Aboriginal participants, which make up about 10 per cent of the group, would help to fill the gaps in understanding around the experience of Indigenous people in times of drought.

She said 20 per cent of the overall summit group were young men and it was important to start a conversation about their well-being and thoughts on drought.

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