For immediate release
28 November 2023
CALL FOR NEXT GENERATION OF YOUTH PARLIAMENTARIANS
2024 Youth Parliament NSW applications now open
The next generation of youth leaders is invited to apply to participate in the Y NSW’s Youth Parliament program in 2024 with submissions now open.
Young people in Years 10, 11 and 12 (or equivalent age) in all 93 NSW state electorates are invited to express interest.
The Y (formerly YMCA) Youth Parliament provides a unique platform for individuals to actively participate in the democratic process and advocate for issues that they are passionate about.
The Y NSW is calling on young people from across the state to get involved. No experience is required, and people from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply, with financial sponsorships open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people living with a disability, individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+, those experiencing financial hardship, living in out-of-home care or rural areas, and refugee and asylum-seekers.
“At the Y, we believe in the power of inspired young people and Youth Parliament offers the opportunity for our youth to learn about the parliamentary system, develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, and engage in constructive debates about issues that matter to them and their communities,” explained Executive Director/Interim CEO of the Y NSW Prue Warrilow.
“Participants will have the chance to draft, debate, and advocate for mock youth-focused legislation, gaining invaluable insights into the workings of government and policy development.
“Young parliamentarians also participate in a training camp in April and a sitting held in July in NSW Parliament next year. The Y then works actively to coordinate opportunities for the participants to present their Youth Bills to Ministers and other community leaders for consideration,” continued Ms Warrilow.
Youth Parliament has supported more than 1,000 participants over the last decade with 97 per cent of participants surveyed saying they felt more empowered to advocate for issues in their local communities. Testament to the value of the program, former Youth Parliamentarians have gone on to become Members of Parliament and community leaders of influence and return to the Youth Parliament program as guests and mentors.
“We are particularly excited to welcome and encourage participation from young leaders of diverse backgrounds and those living in rural and remote communities, whose unique perspectives and experiences play a crucial role in shaping the discussions and policies at the Youth Parliament," added Ms Warrilow.
"Their active engagement and representation are vital in ensuring that the voices of all youth, regardless of location, are heard and considered in the decision-making processes that will affect our collective future," she continued.
17-year-old Cooma local Josh Abrokwah represented the Snowy Manaro region in the 2023 program and worked on a bill that addressed issues faced by migrants relocating to rural areas. Josh said he hopes the experience will enhance his academic career ambitions in international relations and praised the program for providing “activities such as mock debates, the chance to better our public speaking skills, and develop our parliamentary knowledge”.
17-year-old Parramatta local, Rachel Lao was a 2023 Youth Parliament participant and is passionate about gender quality. Rachel was part of the NSW 2023 Women’s Committee who put forward a bill to support mothers’ reintegration into the workforce after maternity leave.
“The Youth Parliament program provides the unique opportunity to not only connect with people who have various perspectives, but who are willing to debate diplomatically about social issues,” explained Ms Lao.
“I think that it’s really encouraging to see the activism of our generation. Youth Parliament teaches participants how to lead and engage in debate that is productive and has the potential to make change.
“The connections and friendships I have made through Youth Parliament this year are invaluable and I know that my peers will be using their voices and actions to make change beyond their involvement in this program,” she continued.
To apply to take part in the 2024 Youth Parliament, young people should visit ymcansw.org.au/community-services/youth/youth-parliament/ and submit their application before 9 February 2024. 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 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.
Katey White, Brilliant Logic | M 0422 639 093 | E email@example.com
Trudy McEnearney, Y NSW | M 0410 346 164 | E firstname.lastname@example.org