A Liberal Nationals Government will ensure more young Latrobe Valley residents have the opportunity to participate in Youth Parliament and influence and develop legislation that matters to them and their peers.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath and Shadow Minister for Young Victorians Steph Ryan have announced a Liberal Nationals Government will provide $120,000 a year for four years to the YMCA to run the Youth Parliament program – an increase of $20,000 a year compared to current arrangements.
Ms Bath said the funding boost will ensure more young Victorians with special needs and from disadvantaged backgrounds can participate, in particular deaf or hard of hearing participants and young people travelling from rural and regional areas.
“The funding boost will see young people living in regional areas across Victoria have an improved platform to add their voice and speak out about issues that are important to them.
“The improved focus on diversity promised by the Liberals Nationals government encourages people from all backgrounds to put up their hand and get involved,” Ms Bath said.
Youth Parliament was established in 1987 and is run by the YMCA in conjunction with the Victorian Government. Since its establishment it has provided 3000 young Victorians with the opportunity to speak out on issues.
Ms Ryan said twenty-five bills developed and debated by Youth Parliament had gone on to become legislation.
“Empowering young people and taking their concerns seriously strengthens our democracy and makes today’s decision-makers accountable to the future leaders of our state.
Young people have good ideas on how to improve Victoria and we want to hear them,” said Ms Ryan.
Each year Youth Parliament enables 120 students aged 16 to 25 to undertake leadership training, team building and other activities.
In 2014 the Liberal Nationals established the YMCA Press Gallery to run alongside Youth Parliament, providing a newsroom environment to cover the activities of Youth Parliament.
“With the increased focus on regional participation and diversity I encourage young people from Latrobe Valley put their hands up to get involved,” said Ms Bath.