Young people from across rural and regional NSW have come together as part of The Nationals’ Regional Youth Taskforce.

Among the 18 representatives are 13-year-old Khawlah Asmaa Albaf from Young, and Jan Jaafr from Coffs Harbour.

NSW Nationals Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said she was thrilled that Khawlah was chosen from over 300 applicants as one of the taskforce members.

“Having a local member on the taskforce will ensure the issues facing young people across the Cootamundra electorate are heard and considered by Government,” Ms Cooke said.

“Khawlah is an inspirational young leader who can speak to the issues that matter to our young people.

“Boredom, self-harm and alcohol abuse among young people are issues that she believes require further attention. She has a rich wealth of ideas and I truly believe the entire electorate will be exceptionally represented by her participation in this fantastic NSW Government project.”

NSW Nationals Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said having Jan on the taskforce ensured local youth would be heard.

“This is a Government delivering on its election commitments. The taskforce is responsible for providing feedback to the Minister, NSW Government agencies and the Office of Regional Youth on youth-related issues,” Mr Singh said.

“With Jan as a taskforce member, I am so pleased that young people from our region have a voice at the table.”

NSW Nationals Minister for Regional Youth Bronnie Taylor welcomed members to their first Regional Youth Taskforce meeting, where they discussed the key issues facing young people in the regions and proposed solutions.

“Regional NSW is a fantastic place to live but there is an imbalance between the opportunities available to young people living in the regions, versus those living in Sydney, Wollongong or Newcastle,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Young people are the experts on youth issues and this is an amazing, diverse group who are united by their desire to have the best chance at a great life in regional NSW.”

The Regional Youth Taskforce will meet four times a year, twice in person and twice via video conference.

With a direct line to the Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Youth Bronnie Taylor, the NSW Nationals in Government are delivering on their commitment to regional youth.