Sun. May 26th, 2024

For the very first time, two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people will be able to apply for a scholarship to represent their electorate in the Y NSW’s 2023 Youth Parliament program. 

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.

“From something so small – being a participant – grew to something so big,” said Hamani.

Hamani Tanginoa, a proud Wiradjuri, Dharug, Gooreng Gooreng and Tongan man, with kinship connection to Dhungutti Country in Kempsey, was a 2018 Youth Parliament participant and attributes the skills developed in the Y’s youth programs to his success in other positions. 

In 2019 Hamani was elected as Youth Premier of the 2019 Youth Parliament, making history as the first Aboriginal Youth Premier for NSW. Hamani continues to volunteer as part of the Youth Parliament Program. His empowering experience participating in the Y NSW’s youth programs has contributed to his optimistic outlook.

In the past ten years, approximately 1,000 young people have participated in the program with 97 per cent of participants surveyed saying they felt more empowered to advocate for issues in their local communities after participating. Testament to the value of the program, former Youth Parliamentarians have gone on to become Members of Parliament and return to the Youth Parliament program as guests and mentors.

Youth Parliamentarians receive specialised training through a series of camps and online workshops, parliamentary education and experience, plus opportunity for community engagement and teamwork which are all designed to nurture participants in developing their skills to create social impact and positive change.

“I wouldn’t know how to complete risk assessments, organise events and utilise my networks without participating in the youth programs. This was especially important for my role in the Youth Advisory Council, advising the Government on things like Youth Week,” said Hamani.

Throughout the program, participants are invited and supported to create reports with recommendations for policy change and debate their recommendations during a mock sitting week in NSW Parliament House chaired by Ministers of Parliament. The Y NSW then actively works to facilitate ongoing engagement with relevant Ministers.  

The Y NSW CEO Susannah Le Bron commented that the Youth Parliament program provides an important platform to ensure young people are heard.

“Young people are the focus of everything we do at the Y NSW so it’s incredibly exciting watching participants flourish as they are empowered to engage with civic leadership, policy development and democratic parliamentary debate.”

“If you are a young person in NSW looking for an opportunity to stand up and give a voice to issues that you’re passionate about, I urge you to apply for our 2023 Youth Parliament,” she said.

The scholarship will cover the $750 program fee with young people in years 10, 11 and 12 (or equivalent age) invited to apply.

Scholarship applicants can apply here. If participants are unsuccessful in the scholarship application, they may still be accepted into the Youth Parliament program, but as a fee-paying participant.

To apply to take part, eligible young people should visit ymcansw.org.au/youth-parliament and submit their application before 17 February 2023.

School teachers and Members of Parliament can also nominate a young person.

Top image: Hamani Tanginoa addressing Youth Parliament in 2019.

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