The young people of Greater Shepparton deserve a future they help shape, not one they inherit.
That is the view of Tom Day, a Greater Shepparton City Council candidate at this month’s election.
He wants to fill a seat for under-represented young voices at the table on the new council to be elected on October 22.
‘‘I think I can bring a fresh set of eyes in and really be that advocate for a youth voice,’’ he says.’’
Born and raised in Shepparton, Mr Day has worked for most of the past 15 years in leadership positions for community organisations.
He has experience working closely with different tiers of government and has a strong focus on youth engagement, employment and creating opportunities and pathways.
‘‘At the same time, I’ve worked a lot around advancing Aboriginal communities,’’ he says.
‘‘And as a younger Aboriginal person, (I want) to really show the other communities that anything is possible.
‘‘I want to celebrate the diversity of Shepparton as well.’’
Mr Day spoke highly of Shepparton’s Aboriginal leadership, which he said was strategic, smart and had strong voice.
He stressed the importance of youth engagement and identifying opportunities for young people to be active participants in the future of Shepparton.
‘‘I feel in order to make Shepparton work, and to build a future for it, I think you need all generations sitting around the table to discuss what Shepparton is to be in 20 years,’’ he said.
‘‘What is that vision, what is the strategy behind it and where do we see ourselves in 20 years?
‘‘Can we fill the needs of all the people?’’.
So where does the council candidate see the region in two decades’ time?
‘‘I hope to see it thriving... harmonious and be a model for what a regional city can be,’’ he said.
Mr Day believed Greater Shepparton’s multiculturalism had not been celebrated as much as possible.
‘‘I tend to find a lot of cultures that exist in Shepparton exist in pockets,’’ he said.
‘‘Why not centralise it... have people from all those diverse backgrounds sit and talk.’’
Diversity, not just among races, but among age and gender is what Mr Day hopes to see on the new nine-person council.
But he did not believe taking a seat on the council would be easy.
‘‘You’re looking after a municipality, so not every decision is going to be a popular one,’’ he said.
‘‘But as long as every decision is really debated, all options are looked at, all voices are heard as well.
‘‘At end of the day, we are elected by the people for the people, so we are their voice.’’
Among concerns, Mr Day talked about the vacant shopfronts in Shepparton and believed retail competition in north Shepparton was ‘‘healthy, but not at the expense of the economy’’.
He stressed on not creating a Shepparton where the region’s younger generations ‘‘just’’ inherit.
‘‘I think the future belongs to them and I think we need to keep that in the forefront of our minds,’’ he said.
‘‘We may have a different vision for Shepparton than what the older generation have.’’