Sarah Chadwick has spent the first week of her school holidays taking her place at the 23rd Youth Parliament. The opening of the 23rd YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament saw 93 young people from across Queensland take a seat in the Legislative Assembly Chamber. Each young person represents a Queensland electorate.
Sarah, a student at Toolooa State High School, has been working hard since her nomination in April and becoming a member of the Health and Disability Services Committee. Member for Gladstone, Mr Glenn Butcher MP, congratulated Sarah on playing their part in such an important event. “For the last six months Sarah, as part of the Health and Disability Services Committee, has been helping research, write and draft their Bill ready to submit to Parliament.” Mr Butcher said.
The Youth Department of Health and Disability Services has been working on presenting a Youth Mental Health bill to the chamber. In information supplied by the Youth Department, they explained the aims of the proposal. “Our Youth Bill seeks to improve the mental health and well-being of children and young adults in Queensland. It aims to do this through 1) regular mandatory mental health screenings undertaken throughout schooling; and 2) the provision of ‘transition facilitators’ to support young people transitioning from child/youth mental health services to adult mental health services.”
Mr Butcher explained that this preparation culminates when the youth parliament sits and starts debating ideas on the floor of Parliament to get their bill passed. “It will be exciting to see what ideas are put forward by the QYP and which are supported,” he said. Mr Butcher was impressed with Sarah’s passion and commitment to local issues which he said are the qualities we wish to foster in our future leaders.
The unique opportunity gives Sarah a chance to be immersed in the whole parliamentary experience. Mr Butcher said he was confident that Sarah will benefit from the experience. Sarah will mingle with members of both the government and opposition at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “Sarah has the opportunity to be the voice of young people in our electorate and to provide knowledge and insights to politicians and decision-makers,” he said.