Youth voice takes centre stage

Melbourne: Family violence services, compulsory closed captioning in Victorian cinemas and improving building accessibility are just a handful of the bills up for discussion this week, as part of the 32nd YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament.

Minister for Youth Affairs Jenny Mikakos on Monday (July 2) joined 20 teams of youth parliamentarians at Parliament House to open proceedings for the three-day event, alongside Youth Governor of Victoria James Abbott, an official press release said.

The young parliamentarians come from all over Victoria, including Melbourne, Dandenong Ranges, Castlemaine, Tarniet, Wonthaggi, Mildura and Philip Island.

The YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament gives young people aged 16 – 25 the opportunity to draft, debate and vote on bills, which in turn provides valuable insight into the issues that are important to young Victorians.

Bills that pass during the event are provided to the relevant government minister for consideration.

More than 20 bills passed by Youth Parliament have gone on to become law, including laws for mandatory wearing of bike helmets, and nightclub safety reforms.

Aspiring young journalists and communicators will also attend to report on events throughout the week, pitching stories to Victorian media outlets as a part of the YMCA Press Gallery.

The Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $100,000 in this year’s YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament, which aligns to the Youth Policy: Building Stronger Youth Engagement in Victoria.

The YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament is an all-inclusive event, with captioning services and interpreters available throughout the event.

Mikakos said, “The YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament is a chance for young people to have their voices heard at the highest level of State Government, and to enact meaningful and sustainable change.

“I am proud to meet the young parliamentarians and hear what matters most to each of them – and hope their participation inspires more young Victorians to get involved in shaping the future of our state.”

For more information about the YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament, or for a full list of the 2018 bills, visit