Inquiry into Retaining Young People in Rural Towns and Communities

Final Report

The Final Report of the Inquiry was tabled in Parliament on 3rd October 2006.

The Final Report is available in hardcopy and electronic formats.



Report Coverage image

Download the complete report Final Report

The media release that accompanied the report is available here.

Hard copies of the Final Report are also available by contacting the Committee office on 1300 787 202 (Victoria only) or 03 9651 3580 or by emailing Alternatively, copies may be purchased from Information Victoria (external link).

To view or print the pdf document, you will require the Adobe Acrobat® PDF Reader, which can be downloaded free of charge from Adobe.




The Government Response to the report of the Inquiry into Retaining Young People in Rural Towns and Communities was tabled on 17 April 2007.

Government Response: PDF, 1.54mb

Hard copies of the Government Response may be obtained from the Legislative Assembly Papers Office, Parliament of Victoria (subject to availability). Contact the Papers Office on (03) 9651 8563.


Media Release: Should I stay or should I go? Giving Rural Young People A Real Choice

Media Release: Should I stay or should I go? Giving Rural Young People A Real Choice

- 3 October 2006 -

IMPROVING access to education, training, transport and employment opportunities in rural areas are key to the recommendations in a Parliamentary Inquiry into “Retaining Young People in Rural Towns and Communities” released today.

Ben Hardman, the Member for Seymour and chairman of the all party Rural and Regional Services and Development Committee said the committee was told that many young people who grow up in rural communities would like to stay if they were provided with a real choice.

“The recommendations in this report support a commitment to increasing information and opportunities available to young people in rural Victoria,” Mr Hardman said.

“We want to ensure that young people have the choice to stay or leave rural Victoria in order to lead a fulfilling life.”

The report also recommends improving support for young people from rural areas to assist them with staying connected to their communities if they leave for study, travel or work.

“For young people from rural areas, accessing higher education or a job often means having to leave all that is familiar behind,” Mr Hardman said.

“These are challenges their urban counterparts rarely have to face.”

Mr Hardman said the committee heard from a wide range of informative and inspirational young people and adults working with them.

The committee received more than 95 written submissions and found that many rural communities were concerned about having a balance of younger and older people.

“Many young people who spoke to the committee have allowed us to include their personal stories in the report and these stories highlight some of the challenges and opportunities for young people living in rural areas” he said.

“The recommendations in this report endeavour to give young people real choices,” Mr Hardman said

Mr Hardman said the Committee was impressed by the amount of interest generated in country communities by this inquiry and thanked all participants for their valuable contribution.

The RRSDC Members are:

Chair – Mr Ben Hardman MP, Member for Seymour
Deputy Chair – Mr Craig Ingram MP, Member for Gippsland East
Mr Michael Crutchfield MP, Member for South Barwon
Hon John McQuilten MLC, Member for Ballarat Province
Hon Robert Mitchell MLC, Member for Central Highlands Province
Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP, Member for South-West Coast
Mr Peter Walsh MP, Member for Swan Hill

Ben Hardman

Media Contact:

Lilian Topic, Executive Officer, 0417 322 053.

For more details, including a copy of the report, phone (03) 9651 3580 or 1300 787 200 (Victoria only) for the cost of a local call.

Public Hearing Transcripts

Tuesday 11th April 2006: Benalla Performing Arts & Convention Centre

Rowena Allen, CEO, Cutting Edge Youth Services

John Brown AO, Chairman, Champions of the Bush, Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard

Elin Ree, Manager Community Services, Strathbogie Shire
Katie Moran, Young Citizen of the Year 2006, Strathbogie Shire

Jane Archbold, Convener, Benalla Youth Service Providers Network
Stacey Lord, Project Officer, Local Learning & Employment Network
Alan Foster, Manager, Youth Services, Wodonga City Council
David Irving, Youth Services, Wodonga City Council
Glenyis Stawiarski, CEO, North East Support & Action for Youth

Peter Ryan, CEO, Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE
Kerry Ford, Liaison Officer, Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE
Kellie Smith, Student of the Year 2004, Independent youth representatives
Henry Stuart, Former student, Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE

Jennifer Hippisley, Executive Officer, Goulburn Regional Youth Affairs Network, Goulburn Murray LLEN

Wayne Weaire, Chair, Tomorrow: Today Foundation
Barbara Alexander, Executive Officer, Tomorrow: Today Foundation

Cath Marriot, General Member, Australian Women in Agriculture


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Wednesday 12th April 2006: The Court Room, CEACA, Alexandra

Cath Kesterton, Project Worker, Alexandra, Berry St Victoria

Anita Pell, Regional Director, Hume Region, Berry St Victoria
David Hall, Team Leader, Berry St Victoria

John O'Meara, Principal, Yea High School
Kate Leadbeater, Former School Captain, Yea High School

Mr Colin Rowe, Principal, Alexandra Secondary College
Vicki Danby, Vocational Education, Alexandra Secondary College
Louise Hogan, Managed Individual Pathways, Alexandra Secondary College

Dr Dennis O'Brien, Associate Professor, Head of Dookie Campus, Dookie College , Institute of Food and Land Resources

Bill Coppinger, CEO, Central Ranges LLEN

John Settle, Principal, The Kilmore International School

Councillor Leanne Pleash, Community and Customer Service Committee, Murrindindi Shire Council


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Tuesday 16th May 2006: Royal Mail Hotel, Glenelg Hwy, Dunkeld

Ms Jerri Nelson, EO, North Central Local Learning and Employment Network
Ms Toni Hancock, EO, South West Local Learning and Employment Network
Mr David Wheaton, EO, Central Grampians Local Learning and Employment Network
Mr Michael Date, EO, Glenelg and Southern Grampians Local Learning and Employment Network

Ms Belinda Healy, LenZone! Youth Resources Centres
Mr Andrew Reynolds, Ararat Community College
Ms Julia Ogdin, Centre for Community Health, East Grampians Health Service
Mr Jackson Metcalfe
Mr Mathew McKew

Mr Brendan Ryan, Senior Education Officer and Former Principal, Ararat Community College

Councillor Fay Hull, Ararat Rural City Council
Mr Mark Hogan, Community Development Officer, Ararat Rural City Council

Mr Miles Coverdale, CEO, Westvic Workforce

Mr Michael Date, EO, Glenelg & Southern Grampians Local & Employment Network
Dr Kaye Scholfield, Manager, Community Partnerships & Projects, RMIT Hamilton
Ms Leanne Jansen
Mr Nathan Isles

Mr Mike Ford, Employee Relations Manager, AME Systems

Mr Peter McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, Colac Adult & Community Education

Ms Rhian Davidson, Secretary, Stawell Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Sylvia Admans, Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

Ms Josie Black OAM


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Tuesday 16th May 2006: Halls Gap Colonial Motor Inn, Grampians Road, Halls Gap

Mr Barry Clugston , Chairman, GWMWater

Dr Graeme Bertuch, Principle Director, Ararat Medical Centre

Mr Bill Slatter, Principal, Marian College, Ararat
Ms Jess Baird, Former Student, Marian College, Ararat

Mr Bruce Dalkin, Westgate Vineyard Country House

Mr Ray Campling, CEO, Yarriambiack Shire Council

Ms Justine Linley, Director, Marketing and Development, Northern Grampians Shire
Ms Brooke Lesueur, Manager of Community Lifestyle and Wellbeing, Northern Grampians Shire


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Wednesday 17 th May 2006: Buloke Shire Council Chambers, Corner of McCulloch & Houston Sts,

Ms Debbra-Jane Williams, Secretary, Advance Sea Lake
Ms Bronwen Alday, Committee Member, Advance Sea Lake

Mr Glenn Stewart, Executive Officer, Local Learning and Employment Network
Mr John Webb, Chairman, Loddon Murray Community Alliance
Ms Tricia Currie, Service and Program Manager, Northern District Community Health Service

Mr James McEwen
Ms Lauren Adams

Mr Mark Amirtharajah, Chief Executive Officer, Buloke Shire Council
Councilor Reid Mather, Mayor, Buloke Shire Council

Ms Kerry Anderson, Coordinator, Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program

Ms Simone Christie, Birchip Business and Learning Centre

Ms Christine Solly, Yarriambiack Youth Services

Ms Linda Kelly, Southern Mallee Primary Care Partnership

Mr Colin Henry, WorkCo Employment Services
Ms Kathryn Clarke, Field Officer, WorkCo Employment Services

Pastor Margaret A. Russell, Uniting Church, Donald.
Mr James Goldsmith


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Wednesday 23rd May 2006: The Colosseum (The Australian-Italian Club), 117 Omeo Hwy, Bairnsdale

Ms Sally Kendall, Chair, Gippsland East LLEN
Mr John Ireland, Committee Member, Gippsland East LLEN

Mr Steve Baxter, Youth Worker, Mallacoota Health Service
Mr Philip Counsel, Community Development Officer, Mallacoota Health Service

Ms Anna Cook, Manager, Community Building and Citizen Services, East Gippsland Shire Council
Mr Ryan Earles, Community Support Planner, East Gippsland Shire Council
Ms Rhonda James, Let’s get connected, transport project, East Gippsland Shire Council
Ms Sheryl McHugh, Let’s get connected, transport project, Wellington Shire Council

Ms Angela Hutson, Chief Executive Officer, East Gippsland Institute of Tertiary and Further Education
Ms Catherine Brigg, Associate Director Learning & Innovation, East Gippsland Institute of Tertiary and Further Education

Mr David Hawkey, Workways/Pathways project

Ms Robyn Grant, Organic Agriculture Association

Mr Sean McLoughlin, Student Union President, Monash Gippsland Student Union
Ms Aspen Kilby, Student Advocate & Support Coordinator, Monash Gippsland Student Union

Mr Henrie Ellis, Education Consultant, Gippsland Region Department of Education & Training

Mr Alan Sheridan, Farmer.
Ms Dale Fisher, Mother.


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Wednesday 24th May 2006: Yarram District & Health Service, 85-91 Commercial Road, Yarram

Snr Constable Damian Yodgee, Yarram Police

Mr John Papworth, Former President, Yarram Football & Netball Clubs
Mr Dean Duursma, Football Coach, Yarram Football & Netball Clubs; Teacher, Yarram Secondary College

Mr Terry Harrington, Principal, Yarram Secondary College
Ms Eva Hirt, Teacher, Yarram Secondary College
Ms Bridget McKenzie, Teacher, Yarram Secondary College
Ms Narice Johnston, Secondary School Nurse, Yarram Secondary College
Mr Tom McQueen, Student, Yarram Secondary College
Mr Cameron Christson, Student, Yarram Secondary College

Mr David Roberts, Youth Development Officer, Wellington Shire Council
Ms Pauline Rathnow, Council Trainee, Member MYAT, Maffra Youth Action Team

Ms Nicole Carder, Youth Services Officer, Latrobe City
Ms Heather Farley, Co-ordinator Community Development, Latrobe City

Ms Jane Coolidge, Yarram & District Community Health
Ms Melanie Mitchell, Yarram & District Community Health

Mr Ned Dennis, Community Strengthening Coordinator, South Gippsland Shire

Ms Diane Robinson, Yarram Women on Farms Group, Member of Australian Women in Agriculture

Mr John Lawrence, CEO, Kilmany Uniting Care

Mr Peter Boadle


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Monday 29th May 2006: Legislative Council Committee Room, Parliament House, Melbourne

Mr Chris DeAraugo, CEO, Lead On Australia
Ms Felicia Carboon, Lead On Australia
Mr James Reade, Lead On Australia

Ms Fran Medina, Chairperson, (Solicitor, Arnold Dallas McPherson Lawyers, Bendigo), Young Professionals Network
Ms Nicole Sweeney, Committee Member, (VECCI Bendigo), Young Professionals Network

Dr Johanna Wyn, Professor in Education, Director, Youth Research Centre, University of Melbourne

Ms Georgie Ferrari, Executive Officer, Youth Affairs Council of Victoria

Ms Lill Healy, Director, Office for Youth

Ms Helen Goodman, Member, Australian Women in Agriculture
Ms Rebecca Middleton, Member, AWiA, Rimfire Resources

Dr Danielle Auldist, Research Development & Extension, Gippsdairy
Ms Karen Baum, Project Officer, Young Dairy Farmer Development Program

Mr Peter Burns, Chief Executive, YMCA Victoria
Mr Damien Mowlam, Executive Officer, YMCA Victoria

Mr Ben Jowett, National Council of Young Farmers

Submissions Received

Number Submitter Location Date Received Download
01 Associate Professor Dave Mercer
School of Social Science & Learning
RMIT University
Melbourne 09/03/06 PDF, 863kb


Craig Twitt



PDF, 29kb






Chris DeAraugo
Lead On Australia



PDF, 325kb


Nicholas Squillari

Belmont 3216


PDF, 34kb


Wendy Mitchell



PDF, 22kb


Francis William Bolton

Swan Hill


PDF, 130kb






Yolanda McKindlay



PDF, 18kb


Christina Mavridis



PDF, 33kb






Kasey Leah Scott

Milltown 3304


PDF, 30kb


Matthew Gore

Heywood 3304


PDF, 30kb


Brook Koenig

Heywood 3304


PDF, 29kb


Alison Maree Whennen

Dartmoor 3304


PDF, 30kb


Shanelle Ferguson

Heywood 3304


PDF, 30kb


Ash Melano

Heywood 3304


PDF, 30kb


Scott Gordon

Heywood 3303


PDF, 30kb






Emma Jones



PDF, 33kb


Dani Richardson
Hepburn Shire Council



1. PDF, 43kb
2. PDF, 2.8mb


John G Brown AO
Champions of the Bush



PDF, 41kb


Glenn Stewart
Murray Mallee LLEN

Swan Hill


1. PDF, 31kb
2. PDF, 159kb
3. PDF, 44kb
4. PDF, 36kb
5. PDF, 242kb
6. PDF, 24kb
7. PDF, 2.6mb
8. PDF, 109kb
9. PDF, 31kb
10. PDF, 69kb


Anne-Maree Dominguez Smith



PDF, 22kb

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Number Submitter Location Date Received Download
25 Mark W Johnston
Central Goldfields Shire Council
Maryborough 11/04/06 PDF, 43kb
26 Mandy Kirsopp Haven 05/04/06 PDF, 209kb
27 R. H Braby Eltham 15/04/06 PDF, 1.02mb
28 Vicki Ruhr
Kinglake 18/04/06

1. PDF, 37kb
2. PDF, 8kb

29 Confidential Darnum 18/04/06 NA
30 Emma Sellers 3885 19/04/06 PDF, 32kb
31 Anne McLennan
Macedon Ranges Shire Council
Kyneton 20/04/06 PDF, 179kb
32 Prof Graham Currie
Institute of Transport Studies
Monash University
Melbourne 20/04/06

1. PDF, 104kb
2. PDF, 124kb
3. PDF, 772kb
4. PDF, 642kb

33 Peter Bowler
Royal South Street Society
Ballarat 20/04/06 PDF, 14kb
34 Anne Russell
National Council of Women
Golden Valley Branch
Shepparton 20/04/06 PDF, 120kb
35 Ron Corrie
Donald High School
Donald 20/04/06 PDF, 41kb
36 Shanti Wong
Brimbank/ Melton LLEN
Caroline Springs 21/04/06 PDF, 50kb
37 Leah Ginnivan 3056 24/04/06 PDF, 33kb
38 Cary Pedicini
Mission Australia
Melbourne 28/04/06 PDF, 701kb
39 Jodie Fincham
Colac Otway Shire
Colac 24/04/06 PDF, 125kb
40 Geoffrey Minns Maldon 26/04/06 PDF, 61kb
41 Diane Robinson
Rural Family Resources
Alberton 26/04/06 PDF, 68kb
42 Confidential Fish Creek 26/04/06 NA
43 Fiona Harley
Mallee Family Care
Mildura 26/04/06 PDF, 1.29mb
44 Ian MacBean Trentham 27/04/06 PDF, 23kb
45 Lindsay Short
Campaspe Cohuna LLEN
Echuca 27/04/06 PDF, 203kb
46 Chris & Carol Tutungi Lorne 27/04/06 PDF, 239kb
47 Kaaren Manley Euroa 27/04/06 PDF, 103kb
48 Alycia Stivic Inverloch 27/04/06

PDF, 21kb

49 Paula Sheehan
National Council of Young Farmers
Albury 2/05/06

1. PDF, 255kb
2. PDF, 252kb

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Number Submitter Location Date Received Donwload
50 Ruth Webber
Quality of Life & Social Justice Flagship
Australian Catholic University
Fitzroy 27/04/06 PDF, 49kb
51 Frank Strangio
Australian National Institute
Mildura 28/04/06 PDF, 218kb
52 Linda Wilkinson
Gippsland East LLEN
Bairnsdale 28/04/06 PDF, 185kb
53 Patricia Amos
Advance Sea Lake Inc.
Sea Lake 28/04/06 PDF, 127kb
54 Lisa Crispe
Moyne Shire Council
Port Fairy 28/04/06 PDF, 160kb
55 René Laan
The Seymour We Want Inc
Seymour 28/04/06 PDF, 92kb
56 Sue Hackney
WayOut – Rural Victorian Youth & Sexual Diversity Project
Cobaw Community Health
Kyneton 28/04/06 PDF, 3.16kb
57 Confidential Carlton 28/04/06 NA
58 Lyndon Webb
Wellington Shire Council
Sale 28/04/06 PDF, 80kb
59 Graham Brewer Marysville 28/04/06 PDF, 12kb
60 Helen Collins
North East Young Professionals Network
Wangaratta 28/04/06 PDF, 37kb
61 Kate Emerson
Word and Mouth
Greater City of Shepparton Council
Shepparton 28/04/06

1. PDF, 27kb
2. PDF, 616kb

62 Narelle Drage
Warracknabeal Action Group
Warracknabeal 28/04/06 PDF, 21kb
63 Mick Murphy
Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN
Trafalgar 28/04/06 PDF, 89kb
64 David Roche
South Gippsland / Bass Coast LLEN
Wonthaggi 28/04/06 PDF, 295kb
65 Michele Kelly
North East LLEN
Wodonga 28/04/06 PDF, 90kb
66 John Hicks
Hindmarsh Shire Council
Nhill 28/04/06 PDF, 37kb
67 Brian Mackenzie
Monash University- Gippsland
Churchill 28/04/06 PDF, 93kb
68 Steve Baxter 3892 28/04/06 PDF, 37kb
69 Bob Goddard
La Trobe University
Melbourne 28/04/06 PDF, 87kb
70 Rebecca Middleton
Rimfire Resources
Port Melbourne 28/04/06 PDF, 54kb
71 Dr Lisa McInerney 3677 01/05/06 PDF, 34kb
72 Rachel Lupton
Latrobe Community Health
Churchill/Traralgon/ Moe/ Morwell 01/05/06 PDF, 156kb
73 John P Costello
Indigo Shire
Beechworth 01/05/06 PDF, 257kb
74 Trevor Budge Melbourne 01/05/06 PDF, 19kb

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Number Submitter Location Date Received Download
75 Trevor Budge
Planning Institute of Australia
Carlton 01/05/06 PDF, 57kb
76 Iris Simpson Woodend 01/05/06

1. PDF, 65kb
2. PDF, 70kb
3. PDF, 157kb
4. PDF, 341kb

77 Doug Chant
Victorian Farmers Federation
Melbourne 01/05/06 PDF, 147kb
78 Graeme Sloan
Bendigo Chamber of Commerce and Industries
Bendigo 01/05/06 PDF, 253kb
79 June Ryan Geelong 02/05/06 PDF, 4.02mb
80 Sean McLoughlin
Monash University Gippsland Student Union
Churchill 02/05/06

1. PDF, 2.09mb
2. PDF, 1.54mb

81 David Wheaton
Central Grampions LLEN
Stawell 02/05/06 PDF, 268kb
82 Teegan Kelly/ Louisa White
Golden Plains Shire
02/05/06 PDF, 95kb
83 Kate Nelson Bairnsdale 02/05/06 PDF, 22kb
84 Kerry Craig
Rural City of Wangaratta
Wangaratta 02/05/06 PDF, 50kb

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Number Submitter Location Date Received Download
85 Rosanne Kava
Gannawarra Shire Council
Kerang 03/05/06 PDF, 600kb


Jo Devereaux
Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN
Wimmera Regional Youth Affairs Network



PDF, 83kb


Felicity Martin
Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria
Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe Uni



PDF, 132kb


Alston Park OAM
Scouts Australia

Mt. Waverley


PDF, 139kb


Simon M. Livingstone
Marcus Oldman College

Waurn Ponds


PDF, 144kb


Jill Karena
City of Greater Bendigo



PDF, 50kb


Phillipa Hodder
Deakin University

Waurn Ponds


PDF, 25kb


Melissa Hebbard



PDF, 33kb


Rebecca Steer



PDF, 31kb


Martin Butler
Rural Social Workers Action Group



PDF, 53kb
John Ireland
Clifton Creek

James McKay
West Wimmera Shire Council

Jenny O'Neill
Wellington Shire