Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Former Mandurah junior councillors took a trip down memory lane on November 10 at a special reunion event at The Sebel hotel.

Past and present junior councillors enjoyed sharing stories about their time on the council, including major issues of the day and how being a councillor helped shape their current career path.

The Mandurah Junior Council started originally in 1985 and operated for several years with a formal relationship with the Shire of Mandurah. The program ran in different forms across various schools in the following years.

In 2002 the Junior Council was resumed more formally as a collaboration with the Education Department’s PEAC program and the City of Mandurah, until 2007 when the City assumed responsibility.

Today’s Junior Council is represented by every primary school in Mandurah, comprising 38 councillors including a Junior Mayor and Deputy Junior Mayor.

It was created to give young people a voice in the community, and provide an insight into how local government works. The members develop important skills including debating, speech writing, team work and community decision making during their 12 month tenures.

The reunion was attended by former junior councillors Vikki Launders (1986) and Shannon O’Brien (2010), who spoke about how the Junior Council helped shape their current career paths. Ms Launders worked for the CSIRO in research before starting her own business. Ms O’Brien reflected on how the Junior Council gave her leadership abilities, going on to become head girl at Mandurah Catholic College and being awarded a leadership scholarship at the University of Western Australia.

Mayor Rhys Williams said the Mandurah Junior Council played a significant role in the City, highlighting important youth-related ideas, issues and messages to the Council and wider community.

“I’m really proud of how the Mandurah Junior Council has grown and developed over the years to become what it is now – an important function to give our young people a voice and ensure their concerns and issues are heard,” he said.

“The Junior Council provides a unique opportunity for us to help grow and nurture young leaders in our community, and they have done a fantastic job at becoming community leaders.”

Mayor Williams was also a Mandurah junior councillor before going on to run a number of youth leadership and community programs, and being named the Western Australian of the Year Youth Award in 2015.