Axl Reeves is a 15-year-old from Vincentia. Already he knows he wants "to be a changemaker".
And it's that same resolute commitment that has seen him named as a member of the state's 2023 Regional Youth Taskforce.
Axl, along with Oak Flats' Laila Zakel will represent Illawarra-Shoalhaven on the statewide taskforce.
Having been a member of his South Coast high school's student representative council for two years, Axl's adamant he's up for the challenge as the youngest member of the 18-strong group.
"I can't see how age matters. The important thing is having direct access and a voice to the senior people in our community," Axl said.
"The opportunity to collaborate with other young leaders and have an impact on middle-aged decision-makers is exciting."
The group, hand-picked from across regional NSW, will advocate for their peers and aim to deliver positive outcomes for young people.
The taskforce will join NSW Minister for Regional Youth Ben Franklin and senior representatives from the government and its agencies to have their say about services, programs, and infrastructure important to them.
Having helped reignite the breakfast club at Vincentia High School, Axl is only too aware of the inequities existing on the South Coast.
He makes reference to FOEI - the Family Occupation and Education Index - a school-level index of educational disadvantage related to socio-economic background, and SEIFA, the Socio-Economic Index for Areas.
"They are statistics but they are inaccurate. We know it because we see it every day.
"The people who use the numbers in policy-making don't see it."
Although he's already preparing his notes for the first taskforce meeting next month in Tamworth, Axl doesn't see too many talkfests in his future.
"I want to go into policing - where I can be a changemaker.
"I don't want a job making policy behind a desk."
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