FATHER Bob Maguire was in Castlemaine on Sunday to celebrate Australia Day.
As an Australia Day ambassador he was the guest speaker at the celebrations and said he loved visiting regional areas for celebrations.
"Living in the city can be toxic and anonymous but when I come up here, like I have in previous years to Bacchus Marsh, Eaglehawk and Ballarat, I go back a new man," he said. Fr Maguire also praised the work of youth groups and highlighted them as "our most natural resource".
"Young people are the future and our most natural resource. We've got to invest in young people. Don't make enemies of them," he said.
"It's bad enough to ignore young people but it's far worse to aggravate and antagonise them because they're the ones who will get us through this seemingly dark night,.
"Kids know everything, there's no question."
Fr Maguire said it was important all communities were universally inclusive.
"Society can get wobbles once people start to get alienated and become strangers in their own community," he said.