The Y NSW has officially launched the 2021 Youth Parliament today, welcoming 90 young people from across New South Wales for an exciting week of legislative debate and decision making. The 2021 Youth Parliament program is taking place in January following its postponement from July 2021 due to Stay at Home Orders.
Since its inception in 2002, the Youth Parliament has become a much-loved event and platform for young people in NSW to have their voices heard and discuss issues that are important to them and their peers.
The Opening Ceremony featured a line-up of special guest speakers including:
- Zoë Robinson, the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People
- Chris Minns MP, NSW Leader of the Opposition
- Susannah Le Bron, Y NSW Chief Executive Officer and the Y’s National Advocate for Youth Employment
The 2021 program is being held online due to the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Robinson said that the voices of young people in the public sphere are not only necessary, but important.
“People in government, business and all organisations that serve you, need to hear from you more, we need to understand and genuinely implement policy and practices that serve you best,” she told participants at the opening ceremony.
Running across five days, the Youth Parliament program will include more than 10 debates with participating MPs on key issues including environmental protection, Aboriginal affairs, women’s affairs and health, the Covid-19 response, education, mental health, and diversity and inclusion.
Y NSW CEO, Susannah Le Bron, said that despite the setbacks of having to move the event online due to the pandemic, the Y was excited to bring together a wonderful bunch of inspirational students for this year’s program.
“Youth Parliament is one of the greatest things the Y NSW does all year,” Ms Le Bron said. “It’s been running for 19 years now and we are very much looking forward to the lively debates and decision making that will no doubt take place over the course of the week.
“Approximately six pieces of the Y NSW Youth Parliament youth legislation have been passed into NSW Law, since the program’s inception and we are excited to be welcoming this cohort of Australia’s future leaders to Youth Parliament.”
Youth Premier, 16-year-old Indigo Lee-Wilson from Ascham School said: “Youth Parliament is unique, not only in the way it teaches us the way parliament works, but it brings in young people from all over the state to create a group that is diverse and who have different experiences that help us truly represent NSW.
“It’s really inspirational to have a wide variety of people and opinions because it really helps us address the nuances of every single issue, which is so important because we often see people excluded from political conversations and decisions.”
Youth Parliament will run from today until this Friday, culminating in the announcement of the Youth Governor for 2022.