• Richard Barba, a participant at the 2016 Heywire Regional Youth Summit. (Heywire Regional Youth Summit)Source: Heywire Regional Youth Summit
Richard Barba is in Canberra taking part in the Heywire Regional Youth Summit, where young people from across Australia brainstorm ideas, and develop action plans to improve life in their community. He shared his life and hopes for his town with NITV.
Andrea Booth

5 Feb 2016 - 3:37 PM  UPDATED 5 Feb 2016 - 4:42 PM

Who are you and where are you from? 

My name is Richard Barba. I am 17. I am from Boigu Island, one of the northern most islands in the Torres Strait. 

My family is really important to me. I don’t know where I'd be without them. My uncle convinced me to play AFL, and I love it.

Can you tell NITV a bit about life on Boigu Island? 

Most of the time you go hunting, we hunt for dugong. The men teach us to hunt.

Or you could just go over to Papua New Guinea, it's just across the river.

There's a market there we go to, it sells things like mats and baskets. 

What are your plans for the future? 

I live in Cairns now. I've just graduated from school. I will possibly pursue a Certificate III in engineering, specialising in fabrication.

My two sisters and brother live in Cairns too. They are studying in high school.

Can you tell NITV about your experience at the Heywire Regional Youth Summit? 

There are a lot of good people here, people have the same views that you do. 

They know what it feels like to struggle in life, and make the most of life.

It seems like some of them have struggled more than I have. To see them here is pretty inspiring.

What idea has your group proposed to the summit? 

It's called 'Back to Bush'.

It's basically to promote rural communities, and try to get cultural tourism and the revenue back into the towns.

It's to help the towns build themselves back up by giving city people a feel for rural life, possibly so they can feel how hard life can be.

We're also possibly thinking of trying to convince them to stay in rural communities. Some of the communities are dying out because people are moving out and going to the city, they're getting abandoned.

This idea is important to me because life is good on Boigu Island, but there's not a lot of career opportunities.

I've been to a couple of other regional places, some that my mates are from.

Their communities aren't getting much opportunity either.

Let's translate medicine to Indigenous languages, says rural youth summit delegate
17-year-old Nerissa Narburup is one of the 45 young people from across Australia in Canberra for the Heywire Regional Youth Summit.