Fourteen Hastings Secondary College Westport Campus students experienced democracy in action on Tuesday, June 21.
Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peta Pinson chaired a mock council meeting with the group of Year 11 students taking on the role of councillors.
They debated and voted on the issues of the Graffiti Vandalism Management Policy, Graffiti and Vandalism Reward Scheme Policy and the Draft Lake Cathie Entrance Management Strategy.
The initiative, developed by the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie West, was designed as a debating challenge with students gaining insight into how local government decisions are made.
Student Jorja Schofield said taking part in the mock council meeting was a really good experience.
"We were able to see how council works and it gave us a bigger aspect of what we could do in the future," she said.
The students researched the council meeting agenda topics in their English class.
Student Sonja Worrell said the mock council meeting experience was definitely beneficial.
"We have a better understanding of how everything works and we got to voice our opinions," she said.
Cr Pinson said the initiative tapped into the wealth of knowledge that youth have about issues important to them.
"The level of consideration that was given far exceeded my expectation," she said.
"I think we should be reassured that the future is in good hands."
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will soon discuss how to seek a more formal way of engaging with the region's youth through an advisory group.
Rotary Club of Port Macquarie West youth director Brenda Sarno said the mock council meeting was about understanding local democracy.
She said the students brought their views and insights to the table.
The students also had the chance to ask the mayor questions after the meeting.
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