The panel of speakers at the Future Northern Rivers event.
The panel of speakers at the Future Northern Rivers event.

Northern Rivers must be 'outrageously ambitious'

A PANEL discussion is under way at The Northern Star's Future Northern Rivers event at Southern Cross University.

Joining demographer Bernard Salt on the panel is Lismore City Council general manager Shelley Oldham, SCU student representative Max den Exter, SCU's Ben Roche and Brookfarm co-founder Pam Brook.

"The game changer for us is to continue to collaborate and engage with each other... and talk about what we can be," Ms Oldham said.

Speaking as a representative for young people on the Northern Rivers, Mr den Exter said there were three issues to consider in keeping young people in the region. 

"It's education, it's social... I've got friends who've come and started a degree but the social aspect hasn't been there," he said.

"The third thing is opportunity -- jobs -- to keep the youth financially sustainable.

"The tricky thing is how do we achieve that? It's a million-dollar question.

"If we can keep those young people here... there is a flow-on effect for all types of industry.

"It's important to stop the stigma of, 'I'm leaving home because that's what everyone else has done'."

Mr Salt said there was nothing to lose by being "outrageously ambitious" for the future of the Northern Rivers.

"There should be no limitations, none whatsoever," he said.