The Tomorrow Towns Toolkit:
Trends in Victoria’s rural populations generally show lower population growth, a higher number of older residents (over 55); and a ‘hollowing out of 18-30 year olds, when compared with regional and metropolitan centres. An environment of change will continue for the communities of rural Victoria.
Further, employment and prosperous economic futures are increasingly tied to technology. The concentration of services and human capital is drawing young people from rural communities to metropolitan and regional centres. This presents a distinct challenge for rural towns in addressing the need for communities to attain higher education levels than previous generations. Councils are also expected to deliver the infrastructure, services and amenity to support increased productivity as well as the lifestyle attributes sought by higher skilled workers.
The Tomorrow Towns toolkit builds on the significant work by Rural Councils Victoria (RCV) and its member councils to strategically respond the key issues discussed above. Tomorrow Towns has a clear objective to assist councils to proactively and effectively engage the young people in their communities. Young people are incredible assets for rural communities. How rural councils engage with and respond to the needs of their young people will be an important determinant for ongoing sustainable and diverse communities.
The Tomorrow Towns Toolkit is divided into four key themes:
- Theme One: What do young people mean to your community
- Theme Two: Young people and decision making
- Theme Three: Supporting young people to contribute to rural communities
- Theme Four: Creating a connection to the town
A final section brings together all of the resources mentioned within the theme listed above.
Two councils were selected, via an expression of interest process, to participate in the development of the Tomorrow Towns Toolkit. The councils were: Moyne Shire Council and Alpine Shire Council.
This toolkit was produced by SED Advisory in partnership with ThinkUp. An advisory committee consisting of representatives from: Youth Affairs Councils Victoria (YACVic); Foundation for Young Australians (FYA); Office of Youth (part of the Department of Health and Human Services); Municipal Association of Victoria; and Regional Development Victoria.