Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro with West Wyalong’s Robyn Lewis, a reformed drug user who is now speaking out about her struggles with addiction and wants to see a better strategy put in place to prevent young people in regional NSW from turning to drugs.

NSW Nationals MPs are meeting with young people across the State in an effort to better understand the issues facing youth in the country.

Thirty sessions will be run in collaboration with the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People before August 3.

Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro said the NSW Government was aware of the challenges too often faced by young people in rural and remote areas and the consultations were the vital first step in helping to shape new policy options.

“We see huge opportunities to improve outcomes for young people in regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said. 

“There are some complex challenges on the table, that’s why we are investing the time now to get the in-depth analysis and valuable face-to-face feedback we need to deliver appropriate and effective solutions. This consultation is an important next step to tackle the tough issues for young people in regional NSW.”

This year the Nationals in Government introduced 100,000 free apprenticeships for young people and in April we committed an extra $13.9 million to provide 24/7 crisis beds and support for homeless youth, but the young people who give their time along with their honest and open feedback will help improve the lives of their peers across the state.

Information gathered directly by the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People from more than 4,000 children and young people across regional NSW will complement these consultation sessions, which the Nationals in Government will use to put together a holistic youth strategy.

The NSW Nationals remain committed to being proactive in addressing regional youth issues as the only grassroots political party that represents the people of rural and regional areas.