Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are now able to apply for scholarships to represent their electorate in the Y NSW’s 2023 Youth Parliament program as part of the Y’s commitment to First Nations people.
As NSW’s premier youth empowerment program operating for over 20 years, Youth Parliament offers young people the opportunity to debate in NSW Parliament, create Youth Bills on issues for change, and have their voices and recommendations heard by Members of Parliament.
Two scholarships are available covering the $750 program fee with young people in years 10, 11 and 12 (or equivalent age) in all 93 NSW state electorates, invited to apply.
In the past ten years, approximately 1,000 young people have participated in the program with 97 per cent of participants surveyed saying they felt more empowered to advocate for issues after participating. Testament to the value of the program, former Youth Parliamentarians have gone on to become Members of Parliament and return to the Youth Parliament program as guests and mentors.
A proud Wiradjuri, Dharug, Gooreng Gooreng and Tongan man, with kinship connection to Dhungutti Country in Kempsey, Hamani Tanginoa was a 2018 Youth Parliament participant and attributes the skills developed in the Y’s youth programs to his success in other positions.
In 2019 Hamani was elected as Youth Premier of the 2019 Y NSW Youth Parliament, making history as the first Aboriginal Youth Premier for NSW. Hamani continues to volunteer as part of the Youth Parliament program. His empowering experience participating in the Y NSW’s youth programs has contributed to his optimistic outlook.
“From something so small – being a participant – grew to something so big,” concluded Hamani.
Youth Parliamentarians receive specialised training through a series of camps and online workshops, parliamentary education and experience, plus opportunity for community engagement and teamwork which are all designed to nurture participants in developing their skills to create social impact and positive change.
“I wouldn’t know how to complete risk assessments, organise events and utilise my networks without participating in the youth programs. This was especially important for my role in the Youth Advisory Council, advising the Government on things like Youth Week,” said Hamani.
Throughout the program, participants are invited and supported to create reports with recommendations for policy change and debate their recommendations during a mock sitting week in NSW Parliament House chaired by Members of Parliament. The Y NSW then actively works to facilitate ongoing engagement with relevant Ministers.
The Y NSW CEO Susannah Le Bron commented that the Youth Parliament program provides an important platform to ensure young people are heard.
“Young people are the focus of everything we do at the Y NSW so it’s incredibly exciting watching participants flourish as they are empowered to engage with civic leadership, policy development and democratic parliamentary debate,” said Le Bron.
“If you are a young person in NSW looking for an opportunity to stand up and give a voice to issues that you’re passionate about, I urge you to apply for our 2023 Youth Parliament,” she concluded.
Scholarship applicants can apply below.
If participants are unsuccessful in the scholarship application, they may still be accepted into the Youth Parliament program, but as a fee-paying participant. To apply to take part, eligible young people should visit ymcansw.org.au/yp2023 and submit their application before 17 February 2023. School teachers and Members of Parliament can also nominate a young person.
About the Y NSW:
The Y NSW is a vibrant, for-purpose organisation delivering cause-driven programs and valuable community services that help strengthen young people’s lives, their families, and the communities in which they live. The Y is part of the largest youth organisations in the world, YMCA, which reaches across 120 countries. The Y NSW serves more than 40 communities in NSW and the ACT and employs more than 1500 people. Each year, more than 2 million people visit our fitness and aquatic centres and more than 10,000 children attend our Outside School Hours Care services.