Journalist Jack Antcliff, 22, of Kahibah, and student, Katherine Sutcliffe, 14, of Scone, will act as "eyes and ears on the ground" to inform state government of the challenges facing Hunter youth.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Regional Youth Bronnie Taylor appointed the pair to a new Regional Youth Taskforce on Saturday in Sydney. The taskforce is made up of 18 young people between the ages of 13 and 23, two from each regional area of the state.
Mr Antcliff, who is a social media producer for NBN News, said he applied to join the group, in part, to seek recognition of Lake Macquarie as a regional area.
"A lot of the challenges we face are the same as those of country towns, even though we have a population in excess of 200,000," he said.
"There's isolation: Lake Macquarie has 80 towns and villages. There's difficulty with public transport linkages. It's really important we find solutions to figure out how to increase engagement between these communities," he said. "And as young people we feel like we don't have activities and events to go to."
Katherine, who is heavily involved in Scone's agricultural industry, listed lack of activities for young people and mental health as her top areas of concern.
Addressing youth mental health is also high on Mr Antcliff's agenda. He is a founder of Lake Macquarie's youth-led Bright Minds Project, for which he delivers workshops at schools on well-being.
Mr Antcliffe said the taskforce, which will meet four times a year, would focus on coming up with solutions.
"It's an opportunity to help shine a light on the great work young people are doing in their communities and support them," he said.
Ms Taylor said the meetings would enable members of the taskforce to champion causes big and small that matter to their peers.
"The survival and prosperity of our regional towns relies on the teenagers and young adults of today, so it makes sense to give those people a voice at the highest level of government," she said.
Ms Taylor thanked the more than 300 young people who applied.
"Applications revealed a wide variety of issues important to young people in regional NSW, including mental health and youth suicide, digital connectivity, public transport, recreation facilities, drug use, and employment," she said.