Tamworth Regional Council can't blame federal government bureaucracy, or anyone else, for underuse of the Tamworth Regional Youth Centre according to a council candidate.
Former youth councillor Marc Sutherland, helped lobby for funding for the centre in 2014.
The only organisation to blame for much of the multi-million dollar youth service in Coledale lying empty, is council itself, he said.
The building has eight office rooms, half of them useable as clinician spaces, two large classrooms, a recording studio, a band room and live performance space, a commercial kitchen, an outdoor area and an auditorium.
Just the last room is used by the Youthie, a federally-funded drop-in service which is limited to 12-18 year-old young people.
The rest tend to lie empty.
"Council have been running programs supporting other age brackets at the Tamworth regional Youth Centre, since its creation," he said.
"Tamworth Family Support did have a tenancy down the back and they were supporting young people 5-18. School holiday program is open to young people from five years up."
Council last week considered a report by the council's Crime Prevention Working Group reporting increasing rates of crime among the city's youngest people.
Mr Sutherland said the council should immediately start work on a youth strategy to identify which services kids want provided in the centre, then act to coordinate government agencies already in the city to provide them.
He said the tone adopted by the Crime Prevention Working Group amounted to "labelling" of Coledale kids.
"My initial reaction was that the language that was being used was dangerous in regard to young people," he said.
"Overall I feel that these younger people need to be supported rather than labelled as criminals."
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