Diversity is a positive for East Gippsland youth

East Gippsland Shire youth ambassador Brodee Turner reflects on life in Gippsland. Brodee sees the region’s cultural and natural diversity as an asset.

11 February 2017

I’m writing this piece in my mother’s spare room at 10:30 at night, snug with cheap K-Mart track suit pants and a bottle of Sarsfield Estate CS Merlot, while listening to mid 2000s alternative rap… and I’m loving it!

So what, you may ask, is a customer from the great isles of K-Mart to talk about today? I’m glad you asked.

Diversity, and I’m not talking about the different types of shampoo products you can purchase. No, I’m talking about a bunch of people from all sides of the globe with different religious beliefs, racial backgrounds and preferred hairstyles. And guess what, they’re all right here directly in the heart of Gippsland, a place of community, of business and of innovation.

All around me I see communities as strong as the links between a chain, never being broken, even through fire and flood. I see one family fall over and ten families pick them back up. From this strength comes thriving businesses which create jobs and economic stability, sending ripples across our community. Through this I see innovation from not just the community as a whole but also from our youth, youth which have a voice ten times more powerful than a Nokia phone being dropped on a fragile surface.

One of my many beliefs is that to make others happy you first have to be happy yourself. So in order to accept diversity which Gippsland in recent years has begun to accomplish, you need to make the community a better place. One of the ways they have begun tackling this dilemma is opportunities for youth to have a voice in the community just as any adult may have, and from that we’re beginning to see acceptance.

Those of you who know me, know of my love for cultural diversity. And what better place is there for me than right here in Gippsland – a place where you can enjoy a European style coffee at one of the thousands of coffee shops we have to offer with an American crepe breakfast. Then walk yourself into a traditional Asian lunch, fit with an Australian Merino wool scarf, and then race yourself into a hot fiery Mexican dinner while singing a song from Denmark. And that’s only day one of the many days to come, each with a different experience to the last.

So where, you may ask, past all the cultural diversity and experiences does Gippsland sit. What, when boiled down to the basics, does it really have to offer? Well if you’ve ever been here then you need only look.

It’s the soft breeze brushing up against your pale skin, the warm sun caressing your rounded lips, the melodic sound of kookaburras chapping and the large variety of hidden-away locations like Fairy Del, the Den of Nargon, Raymond Island, the Tinamba pub and many more.

When I wake up in the morning the thought on my mind isn’t what country shall I travel to next, to get away from this boring repetitious lifestyle, it’s what location in Gippsland shall I travel to today and what style of coffee am I going to let give me a kickstart into the journey ahead.


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