Past and present La Trobe University students, the Bendigo Student Association, Lead On Australia and Youth Foundation Eaglehawk representatives met Coalition politicians in Bendigo yesterday.
Lead On volunteer Jasmin Bradshaw, who has been with the group for 10 years, said more government funding would help youth programs expand.
“I don’t think any organisations get enough government support and there is always room for more funding,” she said.
“More funding leads to more programs and further initiatives and programs that youths can participate in.”
Ms Bradshaw said expanding youth programs would create new opportunities for people to succeed.
Bendigo-based Senator Bridget McKenzie and the opposition’s youth spokesman Luke Hartsuyker met the youth representatives.
Mr Hartsuyker said the Bendigo meeting would help the Coalition shape its policies ahead of the next election.
He said governments were good at broad-brush policies but needed to partner with community organisations to achieve success at a local level.
Mr Hartsuyker said the community benefited when youths engaged with society.
“I think programs like Lead On allow youths to reach their maximum potential and contribute to their community,” he said.
“…I think that benefits Bendigo and the whole surrounding area (when you have) a connected youth that’s contributing and keen to contribute.”
The Bendigo and Adelaide Bank established the Youth Foundation in 2006.
The foundation partners with the state government’s youth office.
Ms McKenzie praised the efforts of the foundation.
“The programs offered help keep secondary students, who may be less ambitious, engaged with their community,” she said.
“These young people are often the majority and it’s important they have similar opportunities to be active members of society.”