Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Youth the Future of Regional Communities

 The future of rural and regional communities is in the hands of their young people, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony said today.

Mr Anthony is participating in the ‘Pollie Peddle’ through western New South Wales to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctors Society. Cyclists include Employment and Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott and Parliamentary Secretary for Family and Community Services, Ross Cameron.

Mr Anthony is known as a keen cyclist and has regularly cycled his electorate as a way of making himself accessible to local people.

“Our young people need to be encouraged to stay in education and training to increase their own opportunities and for the future of their communities. Educated and skilled people are essential to keep rural communities alive.”It is very encouraging that more young people from regional Australia are completing year 12. There has been an increase from 57 per cent in 1988 to 64 per cent in 1999 for regional students.

“However, the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the national year 12 retention rate is 73.4 per cent. It is important that more regional students complete year 12.”

Mr Anthony said the Coalition was supporting regional students at both primary school and those who went on to tertiary education.

“We have created extra university places for students in regional Australia. In 2001, there were 100,000 full time undergraduate places made available for regional students.

“We know that country kids are more likely to return to work in regional areas after they complete their education than city kids. These extra tertiary places will continue to increase opportunities for regional students and also address skill shortages in key specialist areas.

“I am looking forward to talking to young people in Dubbo, Narromine and Parkes while I am on the road with the Pollie Peddle.

“Our young people have a lot to contribute to the future of rural and remote communities. It is important that communities give young people the tools to contribute.” Mr Anthony said.