Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith today invited young Victorians to stand up and be heard by applying to be part of the YMCA Youth Parliament in 2012.
Now in its 26th consecutive year, Youth Parliament welcomes young Victorians aged 16 to 25 to occupy the chambers of Parliament House to debate key issues affecting them and propose new legislation.
Mr Smith said the Victorian Coalition Government was delivering on its election commitment to increase annual funding to Youth Parliament to $75,000.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to encouraging young Victorians to get involved in Youth Parliament and have their say on issues of concern to their community,” Mr Smith said.
“By increasing funding to $75,000 per year, the Coalition Government is hoping to see increased participation of rural and regional young people in the program.
“Issues faced by young people in regional Victoria can vary greatly from those in the city or suburbs. It’s important that we hear directly from young people from across Victoria,” Mr Smith said.
Veronika Drago, 22, is this year’s Youth Governor and said Youth Parliament was a unique opportunity for young people who were passionate about improving their communities to make a real difference.
“Twenty teams of six young people are trained and mentored before debating legislation for three days in Parliament House,” Ms Drago said.
Many Youth Parliament bills have become Victorian legislation over the past 25 years including drug testing for drivers, over-the-counter availability of the morning after pill and amendments to strengthen gun laws.
The 2012 Youth Parliament will sit between 9am – 4pm from 2-5 July 2012.
Applications close on 30 March 2012 and can be downloaded from www.victoria.ymca.org.au or www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au