The Margaret River student council was treated to another outstanding learning opportunity at the Augusta Margaret River Shire on Wednesday, 24 August. Youth trainee James Ransley, Community Development Administration Officer and former youth trainee Shannon Walker and Community Development and Planning Katie Taylor and CD Officer Bec Young welcomed 26 lower school student leaders for a day of learning about local government. The students were received in the Shire Chambers by AMR Shire President Paula Cristoffanini, who talked to them about her journey from Chile to the Shire Council. James explained the structure and responsibilities of local governments before the students first experienced them, then reflected on accessibility and inclusion issues in their Shire. In their reflective statements, the students raised essential matters of inclusivity and equality, such as making available free period products, better access to beaches and improved signage. The students practised opening self-closing doors to rest-room facilities while being wheelchair users, and vision impairment and physical restrictions to complete mundane tasks. After a hearty morning tea, Shannon and James guided the students through the Shire offices. Back in the chamber, they learnt about formal meeting procedures and were privileged to attend the Margaret River Pro debriefing meeting. In the subsequent session, the students identified issues of concern and formulated questions for the Shire council. After a delicious lunch, the students attended the ordinary shire council meeting and were given the opportunity to ask the prepared questions during the proceedings. They were most impressed with the three speeches given by community members to demand Shire engagement with child care facilities in Augusta.

The students thanked the Shire councillors for their commitment to their learning and Shannon, James and Katie for a fabulous and engaging day.

The following are comments by the students about the day:

“I really like the interactive activities.”

“I loved seeing our ideas formed into questions we presented to the council.”

“I really liked the food and the activities.”

 “I loved that speech at the end of the community presentation in the council meeting.”“I liked seeing all the counsellors in their local government environment and how they affect the community.”