Cardinia Shire Council announces inaugural Children’s Ambassadors

Published: 24 October 2019

Cardinia Shire Council is excited to be the first Victorian Council to appoint Children’s Ambassadors.

The Children’s Ambassador Program is another way Council is delivering on its commitment to listen to children’s voices in Cardinia Shire after signing the Victorian Child Friendly Cities Charter in 2015.

Local primary school students recently presented a number of Council staff and Councillors with badges to formally declare them as Children’s Ambassadors for Council.

Selected by the local primary school students through an application process, the ambassadors will champion the voice of children in the community, provide leadership by influencing the outcomes for children, and be a positive role model through their work.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Cr Graeme Moore said that children have a right to be heard and it was important to Council that they have their concerns and ideas taken seriously.
 
“At Cardinia Shire Council we recognise the importance of listening to the voices of children in our community and that we must utilise them meaningfully in our planning, design and delivery of services,” he said.

“Children are experts in their own lives and experiences and they have a right to be included in decision making processes that relate to their lives, as important citizens in our community.

“The program highlights the importance Council places on listening to children and will help encourage the inclusion of children in everyday decisions at Council. The ambassadors will be advocates for listening to, involving, and safeguarding the rights of children in the work carried out by each department across Council.”

Earlier this year, as part of their Child Friendly Cities commitment, participating Victorian Council’s surveyed children across the state asking why adults should listen to children; the top five reasons cited included:

  1. Listening to children teaches children how to listen.
  2. Children’s opinions matter because they are the ones who will live with the outcomes of decisions made now.
  3. Listening to children is a good way to understand and empathise with them; they are growing up in a different world and they want to talk about and express how they feel.
  4. Adults can learn from children’s ideas (which could possibly change the world!) as they offer a different perspective, are thoughtful and creative.
  5. Children need adults to listen to them so they can feel safe to speak up if they find themselves in a vulnerable situation.

Almost 30 per cent of Cardinia Shire’s population is children aged under 17 years, so it is vital that Council includes children in its decision making process. This gives children the respect they deserve and helps them feel connected and valued within their community.

“All staff and Councillors have the responsibility to consider our community in every decision we make. As a Council that is focused on inclusiveness and fostering a sense of belonging for everyone in our community, our Children’s Ambassadors take that responsibility a step further to ensure our youngest citizens are also always considered,” Cr Moore said.

For more information about Cardinia Shire Council’s role as a Child Friendly City, visit www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/cfc