The Kimberley is “miles ahead” of the Pilbara with its range of services available to youth, according to WA Young
Person of the Year 2012 Brittany Moxham.
Ms Moxham was one of many guest speakers at the inaugural West Kimberley Youth Sector Conference held at Notre Dame University last week.
The youth worker said there was a raft of challenges facing youths in regional Australia, particularly in the Pilbara, where there were limited youth services and access to them, and difficulty maintaining a “sense of community” in the town heavily populated by FIFO workers.
Ms Moxham gave a snapshot of issues young people faced and how they were perceived. She challenged the idea of young people being “lazy”, and suggested advanced technology had made people “socially lazy”.
Kimberley and Pilbara youths faced similar challenges which exacerbated isolation, including lack of transport and recreational facilities, education opportunities and absence from the community, she said.
“If you don’t have a licence, if you don’t have a bike, there’s no transport so getting around is a real frustration for young people and adds to that feeling of isolation,” she said.Despite claims from youths having “nothing to do” in communities, Ms Moxham said regional residents were “quite
spoilt” with opportunities and activities available to them, compared to their city counterparts. But another challenge for regional youths was education and university prospects.“There is an ongoing debate about whether education is better in the city than it is in the regions,” Ms Moxham said. “There’s no university in the Pilbara – the closest one is in Broome, so it is a really daunting decision for a young person to have to think about relocating to further their education, it’s a massive decision for some young people…in a lot of instances it can be a road block.”