Applications to join the 2018 YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament are now open.
Now in its 32nd year, the YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament gives young people aged 16 – 25 the opportunity to have their voices heard at the highest level of State Government in July.
Youth Parliament invites 120 young people from across the state to raise the roof of Parliament House about issues important to them.
The inclusive and diverse annual program includes passionate participants from regional, rural, CALD, indigenous and disability backgrounds.
24-year-old YMCA Youth Governor James Abbott said the program was essential to giving young people a platform to ensure their voices were heard and learn life skills:
“Youth Parliament gives young people skills like public speaking, debating skills and critical thinking. It encourages them to be passionate and to stand up and be heard.”
Since the program’s inception, more than 25 Bills which were first debated in Youth Parliament have gone on to become Victorian legislation, including Drug Testing for Drivers, Over the Counter Availability of the Morning After Pill; and Replacing Glass with Plastics in the CBD nightclubs.
Popular Bills debated have focused on mental health, equal rights for LGBT and CALD communities, drug and alcohol issues and the environment.
Abbott said that since global events like Brexit and Trump hearing from young people is more important than ever.
“Young people are more switched on and engaged than they often get credit for. They care strongly and they want to make changes. Youth Parliament gives them the chance to do just that.”
Youth Parliament continues to be the leading Youth Development and Parliamentary Education program in Victoria with generous support from the Victorian Government. It includes a training weekend and six day camp and three sitting days in Parliament.
All Bills passed at Youth Parliament receive the assent of the Youth Governor and will be handed to Minister for Youth Affairs, Jenny Mikakos MP, who will then pass them to the relevant government Ministers for consideration.
Schools and community groups are encouraged to apply at vicyouth.ymca.org.au/youth-parliament