Over four sitting days on 25-26th and 28-29th September, the cohort, aged between 13-18, will debate bills on topics including youth mental health, the environment, housing affordability and education – in the chambers at State Parliament House in Sydney.
YMCA NSW CEO Leisa Hart said the influential program continues to break new ground every year.
“At the YMCA, we believe in the power of inspired young people. By giving our young people a platform to be heard through our YMCA NSW Youth Parliament program, we not only empower them, but open up so many opportunities to improve and strengthen our communities through their ideas,” Ms Hart said.
“I am incredibly proud that the YMCA NSW Youth Parliament program continues to have a hand in shaping policy in this state and I look forward to seeing what this year’s talented Youth Parliamentarians can achieve.”
17-year-old North Sydney Boys High School student Shoryu Das-Zaman, from Gladesville in Sydney, said the program is crucial in connecting young people to each other, their communities and elected representatives.
“Advocating for the necessities of young people is quite difficult…However, over the past few years it’s been great to be able to talk about the concerns of my community not only with other like-minded young people around the state, but also with Members of State and Federal parliaments.
“This year working as the Environment Minister gives me a platform into researching and writing recommendations for the future of the state’s food waste, which is a challenging, but important process as the environment is one of the biggest concerns young people have about our futures.”
At the end of the sitting week, all pieces of youth legislation will be presented to NSW MPs for consideration. The incredibly successful program has had over half a dozen pieces of youth legislation passed into NSW Law over the past 15 years, including the recent Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
The program is managed by YMCA NSW and coordinated by a volunteer taskforce of aged between 18 and 22 who facilitate youth-led advocacy, community leadership and education about the parliamentary process.
For more information on the YMCA NSW Youth Parliament, visit http://www.ymcansw.org.au/centres/youth-government/ymca-nsw-youth-parliament
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