Nationals member for Lismore, Thomas George, has thrown his support behind 110 young people who have this week taken over the NSW Legislative Assembly as part of the YMCA’s NSW Youth Parliament program.
The program, which comprises 110 ‘Youth MPs’ representing 92 of 93 state electorates, identifies state issues relating to young people and gives young people the opportunity to formulate legislative solutions in a mock parliamentary setting.
‘The YMCA’s NSW Youth Parliament gives young people a fantastic opportunity to sit in the chamber of our own policymakers, and I was pleased to chair the group’s debate on the issue of coal-seam gas,’ Mr George said.
‘The “Youth MPs” battling it out in the “bear pit” this week are not only identifying youth issues in their electorates, but are debating self-written, legislative solutions that will be presented directly to the NSW government this coming Friday.
‘It truly was a pleasure to act as parliamentary speaker for the group’s debate on the environment.
‘It’s a real pleasure to have been involved for all these years,’ Mr George stated.
CEO of the YMCA of Sydney, Mr Phillip Hare, said the program offers invaluable opportunities to develop young people.
‘The Y is passionate about developing the future leaders of Australia and providing opportunities for our youth to gain the skills they need to reach their full potential in life,’ he said. ‘This is what YMCA NSW Youth Parliament is all about and it is great to see how far all the Youth Parliamentarians have come since starting the program in January.’
This year is the program’s biggest yet, with 28 more electorates represented than ever before, as well as a jump in Youth MP numbers from 88 to 110. Issues scheduled for debate this year include salary and qualification reform for teachers, Indigenous mentor program development and limiting the market share of Australia’s grocery-industry giants.
The NSW Youth Parliament sits in the NSW Legislative Assembly until tomorrow.