Last Friday six young Indigenous Australians, selected to represent NSW at the third National Indigenous Youth Parliament (NIYP), visited Government House at the invitation of His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d).
The six participants were selected from a strong field of 83 candidates. They come from Dubbo and Parkes in the north-west of the state, Casino in the northern rivers district, Halekulani on the central coast, Beelbangera in the Riverina and Redfern in the City of Sydney.
The NIYP is a week-long leadership program, conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission and the YMCA, for 50 Indigenous Australians aged 16 to 25, to be held in Canberra from 23-29 May 2017. Six participants have been selected to represent each state and territory and two from the Torres Strait Islands. Participants are selected based on their community activities and leadership potential.
During the week-long residential program in Canberra, the young parliamentarians will learn from the nation’s leaders about parliament, politics and leadership.
The centrepiece of the NIYP is a two-day simulated parliament in the House of Representatives chamber at Old Parliament House. Participants will debate bills on issues such as education and employment for young offenders, improving access to drug and alcohol rehabilitation, human rights and mental health.
The Governor commended the group for taking the initiative to get involved in the youth parliament and urged them to speak out on matters important to their communities.
“It is important that the views of young Indigenous people are taken into account by our elected law-makers. Any observer of politics will see how those willing to make their voice heard can influence debate and policy,” the Governor said.
“Strengthening leadership among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is critical to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.”
The youth parliamentarians were in Sydney for a training day to begin preparing for the program in Canberra in May.
NIYP 2017 is a collaboration of the AEC, the YMCA and the Museum of Australian Democracy.