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Fresh face at decision makers’ table

A fresh new face now sits at the table at Clarence Valley Council meetings. Iluka resident, Matthew Farrell, has taken up a position through the council’s youth mentoring program and will sit with the nine elected councillors during their committee and council meetings for the next six months. Matthew won’t vote but will be an observer to all the decision making processes. He will be mentored by Cr Karen Toms who said it was important to encourage our youth to take an interest in politics. “There is a real lack of diversity in representation in local government,” she said. “The most common age group of councillors is 50-59 followed by 60-69. “Our youth mentoring program gives those who participate a close look into the world of local government. “My aim in mentoring is to encourage youth to get involved and consider standing in future elections, which will assist in addressing the lack of diversity.” Matthew, who has been coming to council meetings for a number of months, sat at the councillors’ table for the first time during committee meetings earlier last month and was there for the full council meeting last month. He said he always had an interest in local government and this grew following the election of a new council 12 months ago. “This program will give me a great insight into how council and councillors make the decisions that affect the Clarence Valley while being at the round table when items are discussed at meetings,” he said. “I will be able to give input from a youth perspective. “I thank council and Cr Toms for taking this on for the next six months.” Council’s youth mentoring program is open to Clarence Valley residents under 25 years of age. Council will call for new applicants in about March.