FUNDING to foster the ambitions of young regional leaders has been announced.Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith today announced $540,000 in funding to help the next generation of rural and regional leaders get on track.
The funding will be used for a major expansion of the Foundation for Young Australians innovative Change It Up program supporting and developing 16 to 19 year olds in rural and regional communities.
Mr Smith said the Victorian Coalition Government would fund 30 rural and regional communities over three years to participate in the Change It Up program, with each community receiving $15,000 in funding.
"Change It Up is a leadership program that enables young people to develop and pitch their ideas for change to local government, business and community leaders,'' Mr Smith said.
The program will support young people to contribute to local decision-making and have a voice in determining the future of their local community.
"We know that when young people are actively involved in local decision-making they have a greater sense of connection to their community,'' Mr Smith said.
"Traditionally many young people aged 20 to 24 leave country Victoria for the city and other urban locations.''
Mr Smith said Change It Up would focus on communities experiencing these losses to encourage more young people to stay connected to where they live.
Foundation for Young Australians chief executive Jan Owen said the funding would mean that young people living in rural and regional areas will be able to tap into a valuable program that is tailored to their needs.
"We are optimistic that young people can actively participate and create the world they want to live in. This program will give them the key skills and drive to do so and ensure they have the support of their communities,'' Ms Owen said.
Rural and regional local governments are invited to apply on behalf of their community to participate in Change It Up.