AREAS in drought should have job schemes for farmers seeking work off-property, and governments should enter agreements with Aboriginal communities on how water systems are managed.
They were some of the recommendations from 88 young people as a state summit wrapped up yesterday at Lake Macquarie.
Steering committee member Elly Byriell said UNICEF's NSW Drought Summit had been a great chance to "collaborate about the issues".
"It really shows how much youth is involved with this issue of the drought and the impact it has on communities," the 17-year-old from a Breeza Plains farming family said.
"Overall I feel like our points were heard, but we still need to keep fighting for us to get the justice and attention that this ... deserves."
The summit asked for cultural practices and sacred sites to be protected in water management, and a review of Aboriginal water rights.
Nurse Tameka O'Donnell, a 25-year-old Barkandji woman originally from Broken Hill, said she was "distressed about the state of the Darling".
"Barkandji means 'river people' ... Our people nurtured these resources, now we do not have the control to do it," Ms O'Donnell said.
Other recommendations included: access to mental health nurses and psychiatrists in every regional town; programs to foster greater understanding between urban and regional youth; and a HECS-style scheme for families struggling to pay boarding school fees.
A fiery discussion took place between the participants and representatives of the Department of Education; National Farmers Federation; NSW Health; state Opposition spokesman for water, Clayton Barr; and federal Opposition spokesman for agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon.
UNICEF Australia chief executive Tony Stuart chastised the state and federal governments for not sending ministers to the event.