Time to be heard

Kelly Sparks, Nicholas Steer, Cate Dunn and Tayla Percy from Deaf Children Australia will take on Youth Parliament next month. 182126_01 Picture: MATTHEW FLETCHER

By Kimberley Price

Pearcedale local, Kelly Sparks is looking to make her mark on the political world when she participates in the YMCA Youth Parliament of Victoria, beginning on 2 July.

YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament is a program designed to give young Victorians between the ages of 16-25 a chance to be heard at the highest levels of State Government.

Twenty teams develop a Bill, which they debate in Victorian Parliament over three days each July.

Kelly, along with Tayla Percy, Nicholas Steer and Cate Dunn, are four young members of the deaf and hard of hearing community who will table their Bill, ‘Compulsory Captioning in Victorian Cinemas’.

They hope to eliminate barriers that the deaf and hard of hearing community face when to going to the cinema by making captioning compulsory.

Currently, there are only a small number of sessions that are captioned.

“This bill is important to me because, this is a non-issue for hearing individual’s and yet an unnecessary challenge imposed on the Deaf community,” 24-year-old Kelly said.

“I think it is important for this issue to be seen and heard by hearing businesses and individuals so they can understand the struggles faced by the deaf community.”

For the Pearcedale resident, the Youth Parliament program is an important platform to bring youth issues to the forefront of the state governments’ attention.

“Allowing young people to become involved in parliament is really important as so many new initiatives come from young minds.

“Challenges faced by the wider population may not be issues to parliamentarians, and therefore young people need to make these issues heard.

“In my future, I hope to see more equality for deaf people.”

In the programs 31 year history, more than 25 Youth Parliament Bills have gone on to become Victorian legislation.

YMCA Youth Parliament of Victoria sits on July 2nd, 3rd & 5th.


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