X-factor at Youth Forum

X-factor at Youth Forum

SA Senator Nick Xenophon dropped into the office of the Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie this week to attend the MP’s second Youth Forum.

The forum, held on Tuesday, December 13, was attended by about 20 young people and youth workers.

The slow rate of action on climate change was one of the issues raised at the forum.

Senator Xenophon spoke about his support for an emissions intensity scheme and his disappointment that the Federal Government, under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, wasn’t prepared to revisit the concept due to political ideology.

“Back in 2009, when Malcolm was Opposition Leader, he and I jointly commissioned Frontier Economics to come up with an alternative emissions trading scheme to the carbon pollution reduction scheme put forward by the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd," he said.

"Instead of placing a tax on every tonne of carbon generated by power producers, under an emissions intensity scheme a price for pollution would only kick in if a power plant was above a certain level of intensity and below that level, a credit is provided.

“It is the best and quickest way to ensure energy security, lower prices and reduce emissions.”

Other key issues raised at the forum by attendees were transport, youth employment, issues with the NBN, housing affordability and a lack of access to relevant mental health services.

“It was great to work through these issues with the young people of the community,” Ms Sharkie said.

“With their help I plan to organise a petition and to lobby the relevant Ministers to get a Headspace office in the region.

“I also want to advocate for a Minister for Youth and Youth Employment so someone in Cabinet takes responsibility for the young people in Australia and works to meet their specific needs.

“At the State level I also want to approach the Transport Minister to raise young people’s concerns at how expensive it is to obtain your driver’s licence and how youths without a job or parental support are severely disadvantaged.

“Getting your licence is crucial in the job market and just getting around a region with limited public transport.

“I also want to raise the possibility of securing some later bus routes in the evenings, particularly on weekends.”

The December forum attracted nearly double the numbers of the first event and Ms Sharkie said the feedback she received reinforced her view that MPs needed to consult regularly with their younger constituents.

Future forums are scheduled to be held in Mt Barker and at a venue on the South Coast in February.