Since 1987, YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament has brought together over 100 young people every year.
These young people are passionate about social justice and our Youth Parliament program gives them a platform to be heard at the highest levels of the Parliament in Victoria.
The program exists to give young people a voice in a space where they traditionally aren’t represented (in age or identity), with the majority of participants bringing forward solutions to some of our greatest and most prevalent issues.
Last year saw our most diverse cohort yet. Participants identified as:
- 66% female and 44% male;
- 50% metro and 50% regional / rural;
- 43% culturally and linguistically diverse;
- 41% LGBTQIA+; 40% low socioeconomic status;
- 10% having a disability;
- 2% Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
The process of bill development and formation to sitting at Parliament House usually spans around six months. Due to the pandemic, last year was the first time the program was delivered entirely online and this process lasted nearly 10 months. This didn’t diminish the passion, drive and voice of the participants who were all still given a platform to have their ideas championed.
This was facilitated by the program’s incredible volunteer Taskforce, with support from the Victorian Electoral Commission, Parliament House and The Office for Youth and Equality.
In the past year, YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament has had:
- 18 meetings with Members of Parliament, Department staff and industry leaders to help teams develop their bills;
- 18 bills submitted to the Minister for Youth for government consideration.
The pivot in delivery to a virtual program inadvertently provided avenues for us to make YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament more accessible and effective going forward. We hope this will provide even more inspired young people with the opportunity to use their voice to enact change.
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The Y received a $300,000 grant from the Victorian Government to fund eight camps and a series of active recreation programs to support young Aboriginal people.