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Tuggeranong Community Council Youth Engagement Forum 2024

Tuggeranong Community Council Youth Engagement Forum 2024

Please see what the Youth of Tuggeranong have concerns about. The TCC Youth Engagement Forum has been run annually since 2017 (with the support of Communities at Work) where we invite students from each high school and college in Tuggeranong to come and give their opinions on various topics.  These topics are decided by the committee who look at the results of our annual Youth Survey for guidance. It was a very productive Forum with  table facilitators from many government departments being actively involved

We had comments back from the students e.g.  “Made me feel more free to talk *****Need more stuff like this thby would join the community!!”, “Didn’t expect this to be this fun”, “Very good, I feel heard” plus others (see below) that showed it to be a very worthwhile event – they wanted to be heard!

All feedback provided from the participants will be collated and a summary report provided to all participating schools. The summary will be circulated to relevant ACT Government Directorates, where applicable.  The Tuggeranong Community Council will also incorporate overarching themes into submissions provided to the ACT Government and advocate on behalf of young people within the region.

Summary Report


This year’s Tuggeranong Community Council Youth Engagement Forum was held on Wednesday the 15th May 2024. The first Forum was held in 2017, after the Tuggeranong Community Council (TCC) and its Youth Engagement Subcommittee had identified some key topics of concern for young people living in the Tuggeranong region. The TCC felt it was important to have a follow up discussion with a broader group of young people, with the aim of expanding the conversation and to capture feedback from a larger cross-section of young people in the region. The Forum was planned with the support of the TCC and Communities at Work. The consultation activity utilised a World Café approach, which is a creative and interactive process, where community members come together to have their say.

The TCC Youth Engagement Subcommittee gained support from TCC members to help plan the event. In addition, the subcommittee approached the Community Development program at Communities at Work to assist with planning and facilitation of the Forum. Each organisation played a significant role in ensuring the success of the Forum and both contributed to the catering provided for the event

Image source: http://www.theworldcafe.com/

The TCC invited all high schools and colleges in the region to attend. Students from seven high schools and colleges in Tuggeranong participated and provided their opinions on topics of interest as identified by the TCC Youth Engagement Subcommittee.

Students and teachers who attended on the day were provided with lunch, prior to the event officially commencing, with the President of the TCC welcoming attendees and providing a brief background on how the consultation activity was developed, and the intended outcomes for the information captured on the day.

The key topics of interest were identified through the TCC Youth Engagement Subcommittee and formed the basis of topics for discussion. Each topic was allocated a table and facilitator, attendees rotated around the different tables to provide feedback on each topic. Table facilitators consisted of representatives from relevant ACT Government Directorates and community service agencies with subject matter expertise. Table facilitators set the scene for each topic and posed a range of questions to stimulate discussion. Students were encouraged to participate in discussions and to write down any ideas that they would like included in the final report. Collated student feedback from each table topic form the basis of this report.

Climate Change and the Environment

Bren Burkevics, Executive Group Manager, Environment Heritage and Water

  • High Schools and Colleges have little teaching and learning opportunities about climate change and the environment. When were taught, the focus was on the problem and how everyone needed to contribute to the solutions.
    • Don’t spend a lot of time connecting with the environment or learning about it.
    • Could increase opportunities to better connect with local nature, heritage, and culture.
  • All participants were consistent about the environmental challenges in Tuggeranong.
    • All identified Lake Tuggeranong as big problem, with rubbish and a bad smells from the blue-green algae – concerns over away food places close to the Lake to may be contributing to the problems and “vapes in the lake”.
  • Said 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires confronting but understood importance of bushfire risk reduction activities.

Environmental Opportunities

  • While Tuggeranong had plenty of trees and green spaces, these needed to be looked after.
    • Suggestion that green buildings in Tuggeranong should also be investigated.
  • Some students mentioned the important of public transport and electric cars with access to EV chargers. Several students spoke of the cost of public transport.
  • All students confirmed that their parents were practiced at turning lights off in the home.
  • Students thought they could help educate their family about environment and climate change e.g., keep chemicals out of storm water drains, collect and dispose leaves in green waste bins.
  • Participants identified that there needed to be a greater focus on recycling within schools as it was very patchy – talking about the why, rather than just the do.
  • Some discussions about re-naturalise concrete drains to enhance water quality. Many unaware of the ACT Government’s Healthy Waterways Program and the re-naturalisation of drains in the Tuggeranong area.


Steve Collins, A/g Executive Education Leader for Tuggeranong

  • Students wanted a more comprehensive and engaging educational experience including integrating study skills into the curriculum, enhancing the quality of teaching, and reducing curriculum crowding to allow more time for understanding concepts.
  • Students expressed the need for more courses on practical topics like finances and taxes, alongside more clubs and excursions to provide a well-rounded education.
  • Opinions on a four-day school week and modified hours were mixed, with some supporting the idea if it led to more focused study time and better wellbeing support and the quality of learning remained high.
  • The forum underscored the importance of career support, suggesting greater consistency in career advice across schools and an earlier start to career exploration.
  • Students wanted practical assistance in managing technology use and improving school building accessibility. They also wanted better internet connectivity at school to support online learning.
  • Students’ feedback on safety highlighted a relatively secure environment but pointed out ongoing issues with bullying in high school.
  • The concerns raised about staff shortages affecting learning opportunities, excursions, and available expertise further illustrated the challenges faced.

Employment and the Economy

Kathy Goth, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate


  • Most felt said they were unlikely to need to leave Canberra would be able to find the job they currently have in mind for after school or university.
  • Many people found the process challenging – especially for part time employment (a lot of competition). The key seems to be to know someone.
  • One suggestion was that part time employers could approach the school.
  • Some people also mentioned school could help with the skills required such as interview skills, resumes and presentation, even in high school. They thought informal sessions could be offered to all students a few times throughout the year (ie not a formal study stream).
  • Finding employment with the right number of hours – and keeping to them. Sometimes there’s pressure to take on shifts at late notice.


  • The key issues raised were the cost of food, petrol, and health care costs. All of these are essentials – many had families that need medication that’s becoming too expensive.
  • Suggestions ranged from trying to stabilise petrol prices as they fluctuate significantly, making supermarket price gauging illegal. Increase the minimum wage, target financial assistance to stop people getting into debt and help with energy bills.
  • Most students said they were only familiar with their own situations and didn’t know how it was affecting young people more broadly.
  • They all noted that rents are going up, but the houses are the same – so it’s unfair.

Free Discussion

Charli Hayes and Thomas Griffith, TCC Youth Engagement Sub-committee


Students wanted more engagement in schools and expressed concern over the curriculum and inconsistencies of leaning patterns e.g., “Relief teachers try to do the same as regular teachers, but it’s not the same”. Students said that there need to be more real-life learning skills being taught e.g., resume writing, taxes, mortgages, cooking classes etc. Students were also concerned about school/work balance being too much.


Students wanted more up to date, reliable information via a Tuggeranong Instagram page. Students would like to see more reliable news, promotion/publicity e.g., posters around the Tuggeranong area explaining free food, shelter etc.; regular listings of community events particularly – Community events, promotion of programs, events, places, news and listings of jobs young people could apply for.


Venues like movies at theatrettes (including drive ins) and gaming tournaments were mentioned as something to be further developed, as were more Cosplay conventions. In other words, they wanted more things to do including free options e.g., free and legal walls to practice graffiti and art.


Students were very concerned about the quality of water in Lake Tuggeranong and the bad smells. Students would like to see public spaces to be freshened up; more food options; homeless runaway shelters more youth handout spaces; more family spaces and more bathrooms and bins. Upgraded and specific sporting facilities and more CCTV in various areas and more help from law enforcement were also highlighted.

Facilities and Transport

Bruce Fitzgerald, Deputy Director General City Services

What I heard

There is a need for greater engagement with the youth community and improved communication about what is going on, what decisions are being and how the community can be involved.

  • Need more facilities in general, including spaces such as youth centres, more spaces for events.
  • Safety and security are key concerns. Better lighting is very important to improve safety, including lighting around the lake, the skate and lighting along paths.
  • More sporting facilities would be of great benefit, with suggestions on indoor courts for netball, volleyball and other sports as well as improving the quality of outdoor fields. There was talk on a new outdoor swimming pool, need for an area for dirt bikes as well as a possible pump track.
  • Transport is a very important issue. Buses can unreliable, as well as overcrowded at peak times. More services, more often and to more areas such as Fyshwick would be of great benefit, and reduced distance to bus stops would help. Light Rail is great, but of limited benefit here.  It would be good to see scooters introduced and have better cycling and walking pathways.

What’s next?

  • Recognition that with the popularity of sports such as netball and basketball it can be challenging to find available indoor courts, not just for competition but for training as well.  Once a new sporting facility – indoor or outdoor – has been created, the costs in maintaining it to the right standard must be considered. It is important for sports such as soccer, AFL, union and league to have good quality grounds to play and train on. For this reason, new facilities require great thought and consideration so they can be maintained, and we are maximising the value for the community.
  • Similarly, with regards to other facilities, and pathway and lightings, it is important that we understand where and how they are used, and what the demand is, so that decisions around priorities can be undertaken.
  • Having youth voices at the table really helps us in understanding community priorities and ideas for how we can use that budget. We will take the feedback from today on board, particularly looking at how the youth community can be better involved in Government consultation and decision-making in areas that affect them.

Health and Wellbeing

Lee-Anne Rogers, Director Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing

The key drivers of poor health/mental health that came up in the consultation were:

  • Distress about the future. There was a strong theme that their future was very uncertain and were doubtful about being able to get a good job, have stable housing, or have a good life. They felt a lot of pressure in relation to schoolwork, choose the right subjects and do well at school. For some young people this comes from schools and /or family. They discussed feeling stressed and at times distressed about this and reflected a lack of hope for their future.
  • Relationships. They spoke about bullying, toxic and abusive relationships. poor relationships with their family and unsupportive peers.
  • Technology. While they identified positive impacts of their use of technology – friendship and social connection there were significant negative impacts. Firstly, social media’s potential for harm through misinformation, misrepresenting or misleading content through to cyber bullying. The second was excessive online usage including gaming and time on social media which led to lack of physical activities, reduced sleep and social isolation.
  • Harmful substances. Vaping is a emerging issue plus excessive use of alcohol. While young people were aware of the harm Peer pressure was a factor in not always stopping their use.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices. They identified the overuse of fast food, noting the easy access to fast food outlets near many schools. Lack of physical activities due to several factors including too much schoolwork and gaming

Getting help

  • They identified several sources of help for mental health issues including awareness raising activities at schools, youth workers, Menslink, pastoral programs, walks on country and school psychologists. They also knew about headspace and Kids Helpline.
  • The things that prevented them from speaking up or seeking help included fear of judgement, peer pressure, stigma and self-stigma, fear of the unknown (they did not know what would happen), being too busy and financial when services cost money.

What do they want?

  • More affordable and accessible social and recreational activities that are not competitive sport in Tuggeranong. (e.g., social groups, drop-in centres).
  • Assistance in planning for the future – help to plan for the future without the pressure of high school performance as the only way e.g. career pathway options and financial planning.
  • Access to supportive engaged adults and peers, adults and family not putting pressure on them and access to safe and supportive services.
  • Less fast-food outlets near schools.

Safety and Crime

Constables Josh Hardy and Keira White, Community Engagement Team, ACT Policing

  • The young people would like to see improved lighting around the lake, underpasses and local footpaths for better safety, as these areas can have ‘blind spots’ or lower visibility where it can be difficult to see.
  • The young people felt relatively safe around the Tuggeranong area but expressed concerns with anti-social behaviours around South.Point, the bus interchange, Lake Tuggeranong and Pine Island; labelling these as ‘high-risk’ areas with regards to their personal safety.  Their concerns were heightened at night and when groups of people, especially ‘dodgy or intoxicated or drug affected persons, were loitering the area. The young people felt more CCTV cameras in the area would assist in alleviate feeling isolated in these areas.
  • The majority of young people do not believe Tuggeranong has a major crime problem; however, made mentions of crime types, including: assaults, stabbings, robberies and drug use. When asked more specifically about the crime types it was identified they were influenced by the media, rather than seeing the incidents first-hand.
  • The young people present showed a high regard for Police; however, sometimes felt intimidated when they saw Police near-by.  The young people would like to see Police visit their local schools more regularly, for more positive encounters.  Police not just turning up for an incident, but to ‘hang-out’, provide presentations on road safety, or more opportunities to engage in youth forums with Police.
  • Several young people also stated they would like to see an ACT Policing participating in sporting events to encourage more positive engagements within the community.

Opportunities to influence

Catherine Jones, Communities at Work  

Opportunities to influence is a broad topic with questions related to the involvement of students in future conversations, topics of interest, improving engagement in community issues and outcomes young people would like to see from the forum.

Future conversations and topics of interest:

  • Forum participants would like to be involved in future face to face consultations, if they were set up like this event with various topics discussed. Students would like more schools involved and felt consultations were a good opportunity to have their voices heard.
  • Students expressed interest in future consultations covering a singular topic area, students suggested topics of interest would include climate change; the economy; education; environment within the school eco-system; future employment opportunities (ease of access, student employment); public safety; accessibility/disability.

Improved engagement:

  • Students felt there are a range of avenues to promote better engagement with young people, however, it must be authentic engagement. Students would like to see an increase in opportunities that bring young people together from across the ACT, and events specifically for young people within the region.
  • Students would like to see more engagement that acknowledges the importance of taking the time to care for yourself, the planet, and being concerned about consequences.
  • Students felt it was important to challenge the perceptions held by previous generations and acknowledge that every generation is different.
  • The TCC should aim for active promotion through an increased social media presence to improve engagement via Facebook, Instagram, and X. Some students had no awareness of the annual TCC Youth Committee Community Survey.

Full circle feedback:

  • From this consultation, students would like to see full circle feedback, that includes a summary of ideas and actions, with collated feedback reported back to those in positions of power, and table facilitators to discuss feedback within their workplaces.
  • Students would like to know how the feedback leads to change and outcomes.

If students could change one thing in Tuggeranong:

  • Students provided a range of responses including additional sporting facilities (volleyball courts, ice-skating rink, indoor netball courts); improvements to current facilities; park based activities; giant swing, bouldering, rock climbing; Lazer-tag, mini golf, trampoline park with a team pit; more under-age events; access to non-competitive sport/social sports; disability accessible parks and playgrounds; increases in ‘third’ spaces.
  • Other suggestions: pop-ups in the empty Town Centre shop fronts; removal of litter in suburbs, clean-up of vandalism, improving health of the Lake to increase use e.g., a floating pier with tables and chairs. Overall, students want more opportunities to connect with other young people.

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