For most 21-year-olds busy with study, career and socialising, pursuing a seat on local council is probably not on the 'to do' list.
But Ethan Francis is no ordinary 21-year-old.
He will be running for Port Macquarie Hastings council on December 4.
He says what he lacks in years is made up for by the breadth of his vision for his coastal hometown.
Like many growing up in regional NSW, a love of nature had always been a part of Mr Francis's life.
But it was at university that he became aware of the major issues impacting the environment and how they can be addressed at a political level.
"I noticed that a lot of environmental issues can be created or resolved politically, even at a local level," he said.
"I think that it's important to have a voice and use it when you're passionate about something."
He hopes, by running for local council, that it may encourage other young people to get involved in politics.
"We're the generation that will have to live in this community for the next few decades so it's important to have a say in what happens here," he said.
Despite making up nearly a quarter of the state's population, only four per cent of representatives on local councils across NSW are aged 30 and under.
"I have noticed a shift in people around my age asking questions about council and starting to show an interest which is something I hope I can encourage people to do as well."
He's not the only young gun hoping to create change and shift mindsets at the local government level.
More than 650km away in the state's Central West, candidate Erin Watt is hoping to potentially became the youngest representative on Cowra Shire Council.
At just 29 years of age, she already has plenty of experience behind her after working across all levels of politics for the last decade.
A COVID-forced move back to her hometown of Cowra re-ignited her interest in representing the community.
"Council is about bringing your experience and your knowledge but it's also about your representation of community, when it's unbalanced, groups get left out," she said.
"There's a lot of young people managing businesses of their own or families, they can actually have a lot to contribute to society and want to contribute to those conversations.
"I think if there were more young people on councils across the state, there would be probably a more reflective voice."
With most people her age focusing on careers, studies or families, Ms Watt said it's easy to see why young people choose not to run for council seats.
However, it's her age bracket that is most affected by decisions made on a local level.
"The space from 25 to 40 years, where people have families, where people are settling into their careers, it's massively unrepresented," she said.
"They're the people at work, they're the people who are engaged in society, the people who are about to have families who will decide if Cowra's the place they will settle in."
The same desire to make his city a better place drove City of Newcastle's Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen to put his hand up for local politics.
In 2015, at the ripe age of 22, Cr Clausen was elected to council - the youngest person to achieve the feat in the city's 220-year history.
He made more history in 2017 after he was elevated to the office of Deputy Lord Mayor, a role in which he's now served four subsequent terms.
Cr Clausen said his interest in politics begin in 2007 and 2008 when he became involved in a number of environmental and climate change initiatives in Newcastle.
"The Rudd Government was in at the time, whose first act was to sign the Kyoto Protocol. It felt like there was a fair bit of inertia around climate change," he said.
"I got involved in politics around that time and saw the change that good people in civic office could make in terms of the policy and directions of local government."
Cr Clausen said unlike other councils across the state, there are a number of younger representatives on City of Newcastle Council, including Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, who was 38 when she was elected to the role.
As such, according to Cr Clausen, the council is better able to cater for the needs and wants of all demographics.
"The perspective that is brought by having somebody of my generation and somebody of Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes' generation to council is pretty remarkable," he said.
"From my experience, diversity does matter. Representation in local government does matter, and it does lead to better decisions, particularly when a council is working well as a body politic, a variety of voices coming together to have some genuine diversity across that group."
Cr Clausen urged any interested young person to consider putting up their hand for local council.
"I've tried, during my time with Newcastle Council, to make it as accessible as possible to the general community. Council can be difficult to understand and there's lots of process behind the way that operates," he said.
"I encourage all candidates to get involved in the process of councils. For young people, lots of councils have Youth Councils that are worth going along to. For those thinking of running for council in future, it's really valuable to attend council meetings, understand how decisions are made and advocate with their elected representatives."