The latest government initiative, to gather the views, concerns and aspirations of those aged between 15 and 35 years, offers the promise of being different. The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth says officials will be "more open in sharing policy thoughts and considerations" at dialogues, more time will be devoted to the effort, "novel modes of engagement" will be sought, and more support will be given to help the youth execute their ideas. The last factor might prove to be the most useful to encourage wide participation in Youth Conversations, facilitate deeper engagement and leave lasting impressions.
The young have been assured that they will be the ones to decide what Youth Conversations should be all about. Hopefully, they will seize the opportunity to debate today's key issues as a significant number of decisions taken now will have an impact on them tomorrow. These include jobs of the future, the sustainability of funding social programmes, the shape of new neighbourhoods (for example, Holland Plain and Bayshore), the demand for extensive infrastructure, and the possible loss of natural assets. At the micro level, some might opt for, say, a cheaper solution to avoid contributing more for the current use of certain amenities; but that might mean higher maintenance and replacement costs for future users.
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