Last month in my role as Cabramatta Youth MP I joined young people from across NSW to meet with state government ministers and MPs to discuss issues facing young people.
We presented the ministers with a series of bills developed as part of the YMCA NSW's highly successful Youth Parliament program.
As the Youth Minister for Agriculture and Water I had the privilege to formally present the 'Innovation and Technology in Agriculture Act 2019' which I co-wrote with other young people and then handed over to my real-life counterpart Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall.
The bill was written to find a solution to water security and the drought facing our state. The bill was also written to encourage new agricultural practices, development and research specifically in relation to water usage, genetically-modified crops, artificial meat, and automation.
Mr Ward, the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, was the representative for NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian and fittingly he was a member of the National Youth Parliament 20 years ago.
Minister Ward also addressed the youth parliamentarians, challenging not just us but the other politicians in the room as well.
"The challenge to all leaders is to create more leaders and not more followers," he said.
YMCA NSW chief executive Susannah Le Bron said the influential Youth Parliament program is a leading youth civic engagement program which educates NSW's young people about the parliamentary process.
"We believe that when young people speak passionately about what matters to them, we need to listen because great things follow," she said.
"Our Youth Parliament program is a crucial platform for young people to create change and have their voices and ideas heard by politicians, policymakers and the general public. Over the past 18 years, the highly successful Youth Parliament program has played an important role in the public discourse, with around two thousand participants and six pieces of legislation passed into NSW Law, including the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
"We are incredibly proud that this important program continues to directly have a hand in shaping policy and decision making in NSW."
Youth Parliament is managed by YMCA NSW and coordinated by a volunteer taskforce of young people 18 and 24 who facilitate youth-led advocacy, community leadership and education about the parliamentary process.
I encourage any young person who is interested in politics to pursue the youth parliament program for next year. You get to explore creative solutions to the problems you believe are facing NSW and then debate those ideas in NSW Parliament House in front of real members of parliament.
If you wish to secure your place in the program for 2020, you can get in touch with your local member of Parliament to be nominated.
Each MP has been provided with guidelines to finding the perfect applicant to represent their electorate.
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