Teenage Gooseberry Hill student Euan Gleeson-Brown got to learn about the political process from a unique perspective through his participation in Youth Parliament this week.
The program run by YMCA WA provides young people with the opportunity to develop their leadership abilities.
The 17-year-old Gooseberry Hill resident is one of 59 participants in the 2017 Youth Parliament program that started on July 2 and will run for five days was being held at the Point Walter Recreation Centre and Parliament House.
“I decided to apply for Youth Parliament because I saw an opportunity to give a voice to the young people of WA, and to gain invaluable political experience that I will use for my future career as a politician,” he said.
The program allows young people to be exposed to a realistic parliamentary experience while developing leadership skills and making new like-minded friends who care about the issues young people are facing.
The politician in waiting believes the biggest challenge for young people in Western Australia is the availability and security of jobs.
“Finding a first job can be challenging for some people, particularly if they haven’t had an opportunity to gain workplace experience, he said.
“Government assistance could really help alleviate some of this struggle and improve quality of life for all employed young people in WA.”
YMCA WA chief executive officer Ross Kyrwood believes this year’s participants, whose ages range from 15 to 24, would gain a lot from the experience.
“Youth Parliament embodies our belief in the power of inspired young people,” he said.
“This experience will allow young people to voice their opinions on issues that are important to them.
“Participants are supported by past participants who volunteer on the leadership Taskforce team, YMCA WA staff and partner organisations for each bill they are presenting in Parliament.”
After careful consideration and research, the Bills to be presented before parliament include foster care reform, Indigenous business and economic participation, public school funding and redistribution and online sexual harassment and cyber security.
Eradicating plastic bags, youth affordability and employment, social equity reform and youth mental health destigmatisation were also Bills to be presented this year.
YMCA WA mentoring manager Tim Galloway said the outcomes of the young people’s Bills were forwarded on to relevant ministers and community service organisations at the completion of the week’s activities.
“This is hugely empowering for our participants as their voices continue to be heard long after their time at Parliament House,” he said.
“It is our hope that the outcomes of the young people’s bills are considered and acted upon by decision makers or the young people themselves after the completion of the program’s core activities.”