Caitlin Axelby is hoping to use her experience of living on her own during high school to help other young people around the country.
The year 12 student at Hastings Secondary College has applied to be part of the Regional Youth Taskforce to help advise the government on ways to help young people in less than ideal circumstances.
"I am heavily involved in the YP Space in Port Macquarie as I am still in school but living out of home," Caitlin said.
"I understand how tough it can be for young people to juggle study and work and making sure you have a place to live so I have been working with them to help other young people.
"A few months ago I was invited to meet NSW parliamentarian Bronnie Taylor as a youth event in Kempsey.
"When we got there we were all just talking and she was asking us questions about the issues facing young people.
"No one was really saying anything and I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to tell her about my experiences and some of the issues I have faced.
"She was really interested and asked me to apply to be on the taskforce."
The Regional Youth Taskforce's aim is to be solutions-focused, allowing young people between 12-24 have a say on ways the NSW Government can try to improve outcomes for regional youth.
The Regional Youth Taskforce will advise Bronnie Taylor, Minister for Regional Youth on issues that affect young people living in regional NSW. The taskforce will also have input into the way the NSW Government will act on these issues.
There were 215 applications made by young people to be part of the taskforce and Caitlin hopes to be chosen as one of two people from the Mid North Coast region.
Caitlin said she jumped at the opportunity to help other young people facing hard times and relished the opportunity to make a difference on a large stage.
"After everything I have been through I know my experiences can help politicians make real changes to how young people are treated.
"As part of the application to apply for the taskforce I had to list my top three issues that need fixing and tell them how that could happen.
"For me having help to access financial assistance is a big deal. When you don't live at home and can't rely on help from your parents it seems crazy that Centrelink then still check with your parents about your financial status.
"Another big issue is housing because I am under 18 finding a place to live is nearly impossible so helping young people there would be a big help.
"And generally if young people had access to more resources to help them when they do move out of home that would be good."
It is estimated the taskforce will meet four times in a year to come up with strategies to help combat some of the state's most serious youth issues.
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