Noosa’s Influential Young People

Noosa residents are encouraged to enrol to vote

Every vote counts, yet many people are apathetic about council elections and some resent that voting in Australia is compulsory. Some young people believe their one vote won’t make a difference. Others are just not interested – at least not yet.

This may be because their lives have not yet been impacted by the issues being touted by politicians, accompanied by shouty headlines in the media, and doom and gloom social media posts. There may be concepts that they haven’t yet encountered, or have trouble relating to their lives right now, like inflation, interest rates, immigration, defence etc.

If this is you, I invite you to consider the following, because by voting you have a real and measurable opportunity to influence an election outcome, an opportunity that can influence your own futures in so many ways.

But, unlike federal or state governments, councils deliver services and programs that have the most immediate impact in a community.

Your Cohort

Did you know that 18-25 year olds have played an big role in determining the outcome of several Australian elections since the year 2000 (notably Federal elections in 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2010)?

In fact, a 2013 Western Sydney University study revealed that young voters make up around 30 per cent of the Australian electorate, describing them as “the most electorally influential demographic” in the country.

And in 2022, Millennials and Gen Zs made up 43.9 percent of voters. This is massive!

  • Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (27-42 years old)
  • Gen Z: Born 1997-2012 (11-26 years old)

Young Noosans

The young people of the Noosa Shire – and in 2021 there were almost 3000 of you – can rightly feel empowered – and understand that your vote has the capacity to create real change.

You have a vital part to play in determining which candidates will best represent you at all levels of government and, interestingly, research has shown that increasingly your choices do not reflect those of your parents and grandparents.

I know that issues relevant to your personal lives concern you: climate change,  homelessness, education, training, leisure, healthy oceans and waterways, protecting wildlife and employment.

You may think that these issues cannot be tackled at the local government (Noosa Council) level.

Here in Noosa your Council is working on partnerships with State Government and Community Housing providers to build social housing units in Tewantin and Cooroy, initiatives like a Community Solar Battery, similar to those being introduced by Electricity Providers across the State, which will store renewable solar energy to help reduce our dependence on coal fired power stations.

In partnership with Translink, Council has introduced the electric Go Noosa Loop Bus, using 100% green power which is a free service during Christmas and Easter holidays.  To help reduce emissions from cars and help people get around during holidays and weekends, we are providing free travel on Translink services including the Noosa’s hinterland.

Programs to ensure the shire is ready for climate-induced impacts like flood and fire are being implemented. The Peregian Digital Hub, which provides a space for professional growth for digital entrepreneurs to build their tech companies also offers holiday programs for children, and since 2019 has offered cadetships that now include “AI Builders” for budding technologists and “AI Creatives” for talented creatives. The hub is teaching the skills for the digital entrepreneurs of the future.

Your Council provides leisure facilities like the Noosa Aquatic Centre, where a variety of classes from baby swim to adult squad, and aquafit, are held. Next door is the Noosa Tennis Centre (tennis and pickleball) and on the other side a revamped skate bowl. 

So you see your Council is not just about roads, rubbish and rates, and your vote has the ability to help determine how your, and your families’, rates are spent.

2023 Elections – Your Opportunity To Have Your Say

In 2021 the Noosa Shire had almost 3000 people aged 18-24 and those 3000 votes could well be the difference in two important elections in 2024.

All residents of the Noosa Shire who are aged 18 years and over will be asked to vote in our local government (Council) election in March, and the State Government election in October.  That’s two elections, each with its own set of issues that our young people will influence, and I encourage every one of those 3000 young adults to register to vote – and to vote for whichever candidate has the knowledge and experience to be your voice in Council or State Government.

Register To Vote (Update 6 February 2023: too late now, for Noosa’s LGA elections!)

Have you turned 18 since the last election or referendum?

Will you turn 18 on or before 16 March 2023?

If your answer is YES to either of these, then you are eligible to vote in the Queensland Local Government election to be held on 16 March 2023, but you must register to vote by 5 February 2023.

So what if you are turning 18 between 5 February and 16 March? In this case you can provisionally enrol which will allow so that once you turn 18 you will be able to either vote at a polling station, or register for a postal vote.  In fact, if you are super-organised you can provisionally enrol from age 16.

It’s compulsory to enrol and vote in council, state and federal government elections if you:

  • are an Australian citizen or eligible British subject;
  • are aged 18 years or over;
  • have lived at your address for at least one month. 

But more importantly, by voting you have the opportunity to vote for the people who you wish to hear your concerns and make a real difference to all of our lives. Enrol now, update your details, or learn more at the Electoral Commission of Queensland.

New to Noosa?

Have you settled in Noosa Shire since you last voted in local government elections? If so, this article may be of interest to you Shout Out To New Noosa Residents