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Minister for Children, Families and Youth Affairs visits Kyabram

By Holly Tregenza

FEDERAL Minister for Children, Families and Youth Affairs Michelle Landry dropped into the Kyabram Community Learning Centre last week as part of a National party visit to the Nicholls electorate.

Ms Landry said she was impressed by the level of support currently on offer in town for families and young people, but conceded more could be done to provide support services — particularly for those suffering from a mental illness.

“I'd like to see some satellite services like Headspace come into smaller communities like Kyabram,” she said.

“It is clear that smaller communities could really benefit from having a Headspace open even just one day a week to support young people."

As well as the KCLC, the minister visited the Lighthouse Project in Shepparton and the Bridge Youth Support centre in Seymour.

She said one thing that was brought up throughout her trip was regional health boundaries.

Some families, due to their postcode, must travel to Bendigo to seek public health treatment rather than Shepparton, even though Shepparton is closer.

“Although health is a state issue i'll be talking to Mr Drum about it to advocate for a solution,” she said.

Ms Landry also said the Federal Government was working towards an increase of the Newstart allowance, an unemployment payment that provides recipients with just $278 a week.

But she also criticised some young people and their willingness to work.

“As a government we’ve said that we want to increase Newstart but we are interested in other programs that help get young people into the workforce,” she said.

“There are people that want to be working but there are some that don’t.

“There are skills shortages in some regional areas and we need to be stricter — because there are jobs going, maybe just not the jobs that people want.

“None of us ever start at the top in any job. I think young people don't want to start at the bottom anymore."