Inspired young people from across NSW have returned to their local communities with a spring in their step and motivated to influence change after completing a memorable 20th anniversary of the Y NSW Youth Parliament.
The voices of 60 students filled the Legislative Council over a four-day sitting week (11-14 July) in the Parliament of NSW, as part of the year-long youth leadership and engagement program.
They debated and passed nine important committee reports, including nearly 100 recommendations, across a range of portfolios including Aboriginal Affairs, Education, Women’s Affairs and Inclusion and Diversity.
Member for Seven Hills Myles Waciega was announced as the 2023 Youth Governor at the closing ceremony at Parliament House on Friday 15 July.
“I am truly honoured to be your Youth Governor for next year and I can’t wait to be further involved in the Y and Youth Parliament,” said Waciega, the Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in 2022.
“This is one of the defining moments of my life; this event, the friends I’ve made, you have all been wonderful.”
NSW Governor Margaret Beazley pictured at Government House with Youth Parliament 2022
Y NSW’s flagship Youth Parliament program has been operating for 20 years in NSW, providing high school-age students with the opportunity to engage with civic leadership, policy development and democratic parliamentary debate.
“This remarkable program encourages and empowers inspired young people to develop their public speaking and advocacy skills in a supportive and inclusive environment,” said Louisa McKay, Y NSW Executive Leader Purpose and Impact.
“Each year we are overwhelmed by the passion and commitment young people bring to the program and this year was no exception.”
Participants came from all parts of NSW, including Tweed Heads, Orange, Lismore, Wagga, Port Stephens, Paramatta, Newtown, the Blue Mountains and Maroubra.
Students camped at the Sydney Olympic Park Lodge for nine days, taking a bus into Macquarie Street each of the four sitting days, forging lifelong friendships and soaking up a wealth of knowledge along the way.
“We’re all here to represent something that we are passionate about, and we are all passionate about politics and policy in some way,” said Vincent Rummery, Member for the Blue Mountains and Manager of Opposition Business in the Upper House.
“It was exhilarating, there were nervous aspects to it but it’s just really fun. It is such a great experience.”
More than a dozen Members of Parliament made time in their busy schedules to chair debates, Question Time, and Matters of Public Importance, offering invaluable advice and encouragement.
Youth Voice Coordinator, Tina Flaskas, praised the students’ commitment and enthusiasm.
“You’ve done your week and you have so many tools; you have all the knowledge, you have all your cohort to support you going forward to continue your role not only as an advocate for your community, but your peers more broadly,” said Flaskas.
Participants will return to Parliament House on Monday September 26 to officially present the nine reports to respective Minister’s portfolios.
This year marked the first-time participants were able to meet in person for two years, with COVID-19 restrictions turning parliamentary training and sitting days into a virtual program.
“It has made me more grateful of these experiences face to face, nothing beats having the experience in person,” said Chelsea Hannon Burgess, Member for Wagga and Deputy Leader for the Opposition in the Upper House.
“There’s been some incredible debates this week, really talented public speaking and I definitely can see many people in this cohort going on to great things whether it’s in the public or the private sector.”
Closing Ceremony Awards
Best speaker of the Government - Pedram Ali, MLC Granville
Best speaker of the Opposition – Raani Narayan MLC Strathfield
Encouragement award – Ned Graham MLC Newtown
Taskie Award for Star Player – Josh Shaw MLC Wagga
Among the nearly 100 recommendations contained in the nine reports are:
• Implementation of a 11.5% wage rise for teachers in the next financial year.
• Greater rights for gig workers.
• Lowering the minimum full-time work age to 16.
• Reduce the cost of car registration on apprentices and young tradespeople by 60%
• Requirement for corporations to hold a 40% quota for minority groups and diverse persons in major board positions by 2035.
• Youth Parliament provides a vital platform for young people in NSW to have their voices heard and discuss issues that are important to them and their peers.
• In April, participants developed their advocacy skills at a week-long training camp at the Sydney Olympic Park Lodge and have since held virtual meetings to discuss and formulate their respective committee reports.
• The Youth Governor is the direct link between the Y NSW and the prospective
Youth Parliament cohort of 2023. The Youth Governor also play a pivotal role at
the Y NSW, leading the path for advocacy that goes beyond the Youth Parliament Program.
• Applications open for 2023 Youth Parliament on Monday 10 October 2022
• The backbone of Youth Parliament are the ‘Taskies’ – a group of mainly former participants who return to mentor, support and guide youth parliamentarians
through their journey.
About the Y NSW: The Y 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.
Senior Media and PR Adviser, Brett Clancy – 0460 035 336 firstname.lastname@example.org