A Port Hacking High School student has been selected to take part in the Y NSW Youth Parliament next month.
Grace Ryan, 16, of Sans Souci, is one of more than 100 passionate young people from across the state selected to become a voice for their peers at the 20th annual Youth Parliament.
The year 11 student was nominated by her school's deputy principal and began the selection process in March.
She said she was excited to represent her electorate of Rockdale.
"I was notified of the Y NSW Youth Parliament Program through my school and thought that it would be a great opportunity to expand my knowledge on the parliamentary process, meet like-minded passionate young people and enact tangible change in areas I feel strongly about and those affecting my electorate," Grace said.
"I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to represent my electorate of Rockdale and debate issues that I am passionate about in the NSW Legislative Assembly.
"I am looking forward to working with my fellow representatives in developing policy to address important issues facing the youth of NSW and can't wait to enact tangible change.
"As an advocate of social justice in my local community, I have always been unafraid to speak my mind and use my voice to raise awareness on important issues affecting vulnerable groups."
Grace was assigned to her "favourite committee", women's affairs, and has started workshopping and developing bills ahead of an eight-day Youth Parliament Residential Camp in July.
She said the bill she was working on is assessing the challenges related to menstruation, such as the cost of sanitary products and the inability to access education.
"Whilst we are only in the early drafting stages, our current solutions on solving this issue are to mandate free sanitary vending machines at all NSW high schools and transport hubs, and to mandate in-depth education on menstruation," she said.
Grace is studying legal studies at school and is considering a career in politics.
Y NSW Youth Parliament is an empowerment and advocacy program that provides a platform so young people can have their voices heard through legislative debate and decision making.
It is aimed at students in years 10, 11 and 12, and helps them develop skills to create social impact and positive change through parliamentary education, community engagement, confidence building and teamwork.
Since it started in 2002, six pieces of youth legislation have passed into NSW law, including the recent Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
Youth Parliament is managed by not-for-profit group the Y NSW and co-ordinated by a volunteer taskforce of young people aged 18 and 26.
Details: For more information click here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.