Youth can make a difference

BRENDAN Ma is quietly confident he can effect change.

The James Ruse Agricultural High School student, 16, will participate in the NSW YMCA Youth Parliament for the second year in a row, an exploit he says has made him realise that youth can make a difference.

"Last year I was lucky enough to be the member for Castle Hill as well," he said.

"It did seem quite daunting at the start.

"The bond that you make and the immense dedication of the taskforce members that are our leaders [at training camp] made it so much easier to become confident and eloquent in what we were trying to say."

Last year Brendan met close to 160 other young people with similar interests and career goals, and saw how parliament operates while creating a transport bill to asses the safety and efficiency of the state's public transport.

He said it was significant that parliamentarians had referenced the happenings of youth parliament in their speeches in 2013, including the substance of the young participants' bills.

"They referenced that in their own debates when they were arguing for their own bills," he said.

"That was very significant because it woke me up to the sense that though we're a congregation of 16, 17 and 18 year-olds, we have a potential to make something happen.

"As long as we work hard towards it we can make people in the community take notice and make change."

Brendan, a year 11 student, hopes to study a combined law degree.

He does not yet know what he and other youth parliament members in the education committee will create a bill about — which they will then attempt to pass during a week-long parliamentary sitting — but he can guess.

"It comes down to student outcomes," he said.

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