For Seymour teenagers Chloe Thomas and Cooper Clydesdale it was a chance to have their voices heard by the state’s key decision makers.
More than 100 locals packed into the Seymour Lions clubroom on Wednesday for the second Goulburn Regional Assembly — a type of focus group for regional Victoria.
Young and old from Seymour and across the Goulburn Valley shared tables with six of the state’s key ministers to discuss how to solve the problems of the area.
‘‘Our school was looking for young students to participate so we could import our ideas into the community,’’ Chloe said.
She listed mental illness and a disparity between the services available in her town compared to Melbourne as some of her key concerns.
‘‘They have an increased level of everything (in the city), it’s not that we are missing out but there are gaps and that is why we are here,’’ Cooper said.
The two students voiced their concerns with Victorian Education Minister James Merlino, but were surprised that he more or less just sat and listened.
‘‘I was expecting a little bit more input, but I guess they were here to seek our ideas,’’ Chloe said.
Not dominating the discussion was intentional according to the minister, who said it was a positive sign that so many young people turned up.
‘‘It’s local communities and local regions that know the best what they need,’’ Mr Merlino said.
Moira Shire Mayor Gary Cleveland said the issues around the Seymour area were a bit different than in Shepparton, which held last year’s inaugural assembly, or his own area, but there was a bit of overlap.
‘‘It’s peri-urban here, so it’s a little bit different,’’ Cr Cleveland said.
Every mayor from across the Goulburn Valley attended the night, and if everything goes to plan the next regional assembly will be held in Cr Cleveland’s Moira region.