In July, more than 90 young people took a seat in the Legislative Assembly for a four-day sitting in the Parliament of NSW, as part of the Y NSW Youth Parliament program.
Participants raised and debated important issues relevant to their committees by preparing Youth bills across a range of portfolios including Environment and Climate Change; Mental Health; Justice; Aboriginal Affairs, Education, Women’s Affairs, and Inclusion and Diversity.
The Youth Parliament Program has taken significant strides towards inclusivity and empowerment by actively involving a range of participants in this year’s program.
Jordi is 17 years old and is part of the Empowered Living sponsorship for the Youth Parliament program. Living in Orange NSW, Jordi is passionate about LGBTQIA+ rights and education, disability awareness and youth mental health and has been involved in the program for three years.
“Youth Parliament plays an important role in allowing young people to have their voices heard and I am proud to represent my community as a youth parliamentarian,” said Jordi.
Over the course of the program these exceptional young individuals like Jordi showcased their abilities, voiced their concerns, and advocated for positive change within legislative frameworks.
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.
In the last 10 years, approximately 1000 young people have participated in the program and this year more than 90 participants from a diverse range of backgrounds were involved including those from rural areas as well as First Nations young people, refugees and people living with a disability.
“Youth Parliament gives young people, like me, a great platform to raise issues that are significant, not only in our communities but anywhere. This program is run by youth for youth and allows us to shine a light on what is important to us,” added Jordi.
Following the July Youth Sitting Week in the Legislative Assembly, Youth Parliament participants such as Jordi go on to refine their bills as part of their committees.
The Youth Parliament program then progresses with the Y NSW facilitating meetings with relevant MPs where participants have the opportunity to present their Youth Bills in person.
For the Y NSW’s 2023 Youth Parliament program there were 93 participants covering 70 per cent of the state’s electorates. This year’s cohort includes 40 per cent from metropolitan areas and 60 per cent from rural and regional communities.