Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

Parliament of Youth

The 2018 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability was held on Monday, 4 June 2018 at the Australian National University. The topic for the 2018 Parliament was:

What is one action we can take to make Canberra more sustainable?

In 2018:

  • 209 students participated (year 1 – 12) to generate 54 proposals
  • 20 schools took part
  • 45 volunteers helped out (mainly Year 11 & 12 & university students)
  • 1 Minister of the Environment attended the Parliament
  • 4 Members of the Legislative Assembly attended the Parliament and were presented with top proposals at the Assembly

The final six proposals as voted by the Parliament of Youth were presented to members of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Half the final proposals were on waste or litter while two focused on promoting healthy food choices to students. Here are the top 6 proposals as voted by the full Parliament.

  1. Provide all schools with compost and recycling bins – Kaleen Primary
  2. E-waste exchange program – Radford College
  3. Pick and Jog program – to clean up litter – Daramalan College
  4. Develop a fun app to promote sustainable & healthy food choices at the supermarket – Curtin Primary
  5. Aquaponics school kitchen gardens – Trinity Christian School
  6. The ‘Glassroom’ – a clean energy classroom to teach children about sustainability – Farrer Primary

Each year a White paper is produced about the Parliament. It’s a record of the 2018 SEE-Change Parliament of Youth on Sustainability and is the compilation of the work of 20 ACT schools.

White paper 2018

2017 Parliament of Youth

Read the 2017 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability White Paper including the final 12 proposals from the Parliament.

Watch the WIN News report from the Parliament on 29 May 2017:

Listen to the ABC 666 radio report from the Parliament:


Proposal catches MLA’s eye!

Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly have asked for more information about one of the final proposals from the 2017 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability, a sign that our local politicians are taking the ideas of our young people seriously.

The Daramalan College proposal to improve the Cotter Dam catchment system by incorporating hydro-electricity generation has caught the attention of MLA Mick Gentleman. Well done to student Minister, Andrew Aitchison, his team mate, Terence Johnson, and their teacher, Colin Price. We’ll keep you posted on further developments.

Meeting of student Ministers with MLAs

And well done to all 10 Parliament of Youth student Ministers who met with the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services on 13 June 2017. The students presented the final White Paper from the Parliament to MLAs and Committee members, Suzanne Orr (Chair), Steve Doszpot, Tara Cheyne and Mark Parton. They then presented 10 of the 12 final proposals.

The students were fine ambassadors for a sustainable Canberra and for their schools. Discussion about the proposals was robust with MLAs challenging the students to explain the benefits and practicality of their proposals, and students pressing the politicians to explain what they will do with the students’ ideas.

Student Ministers meet with the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services (Photo: Anne Quinn)

Outcomes of the 2017 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 2017 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability on 29 May 2017.

193 students from 21 schools participated with 41 additional students volunteering in various roles on the day.

Students in a full Parliament session at the 2017 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability (Photo: Lamis Kazak)

MLAs Shane Rattenbury, Nicole Lawder and Mick Gentleman took part in the question and answer session with the full Parliament of students and were on hand for the presentation of the final 12 proposals chosen by the year group committees.

Mick Gentleman, Nicole Lawder and Shane Rattenbury in the full Parliament session (Photo: Lamis Kazak)

At the end of the day, the student Parliamentarians voted for the six final proposals to be included in the Parliament White Paper.

Final six proposals

Reducing our pollution by using ‘Trace Free Transport’
Burgmann Anglican College (Forde), Minister: Elijah Hezkial

Introduce a green footprint labelling system to indicate minimum and recyclable packaging
Trinity Christian School, Minister: Georgina Oke

Public bike sharing hire with bicycle stations at key points throughout Canberra
Trinity Christian School, Minister: Caide Spandow

YEAR 10 – YEAR 12
Waste free supermarkets by 2030
St Mary MacKillop College, Minister: Aisling Kinsella

Foot fall harvesting – Install smart tiles in paved flooring to capture kinetic energy from pedestrians’ footsteps and convert it into electricityMerici College, Minister: Caitlin Treble

Collection and recycling of soft plasticsSt Mary MacKillop College, Minister: Lani Bevan


Other six proposals presented to the full Parliament

Reducing car pollution in Canberra by encouraging cycling
Red Hill Primary School, Minister: Alexander Paras

Don’t waste green waste!
Farrer Primary School, Minister: Emma Avakian

Upcycling wastePalmerston Primary School, Minister: Isaac Atkinson, Charles Noble

Walk it/Ride it!Kaleen Primary School, Minister: Victor Au

Establish school gardens and make gardening a compulsory subject in all schools across the ACT as part of the sustainability curriculum
St Francis Xavier College, Minister: Charlotte Drury

YEAR 10 – YEAR 12
A new and improved Cotter Dam catchment system
Daramalan College, Minister: Andrew Aitchison

Burgmann Anglican students at the 2017 Parliament (Photo: Zac Cristallo)


WHAT: The Parliament of Youth on Sustainability is the chance for ACT students from kindergarten to year 12 to have their say about how we should reduce Canberra’s ecological footprint and make Canberra a more sustainable city. Each school may enter up to three teams in each of the year group categories: K-Y3 (6 team members), Y4-Y6 (6 team members), Y7-Y9 (3 team members) and Y10-Y12 (2 team members). Each team should prepare a one-page Green Paper outlining their proposal for action (due 5 May 2017) and a 5 minute presentation about their proposal for delivery at the Parliament. You can download an information flyer here.

WATCH: The 2017 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability video (1:38) below for a quick run-down on what the Parliament is all about.

GREEN PAPER TEMPLATE AND INSTRUCTIONS – Students used the Green Paper Template 2017 to complete their one-page Green Paper for the Parliament – the Green Paper Instructions 2017 may help too. You can find examples of Green Papers here.

TEACHING RESOURCES: Go to the teaching resources page which includes a 4 step teaching sequence.

EXPERT PRESENTERS AVAILABLE: We have a list of expert volunteers happy to come to your class to present on the ecological footprint, sustainability, renewable energy, and more. Check our presenter list and contact our Project Officer at parliament@see-change.org.au to book a speaker.

PROJECT UPDATES: Parliament of Youth Newsletter

STAY CONNECTED: Join our Parliament of Youth Facebook group.


Click here for the 2017 Project Information for Teachers. Follow this link to the teaching resources page.

In a nutshell: What do participating schools/students do?

1. Study the concepts of the ecological footprint and sustainability. Click here for some useful resources.

2. Study one aspect of human lifestyle and how it relates to Canberra’s ecological footprint. Click here for suggested focus topics.

Student Parliamentarians working on postcards to politicians at the 2015 Parliament

Student Parliamentarians working on postcards to politicians at the 2015 Parliament

3. Develop a proposal for action to reduce Canberra’s footprint.

4. Each Parliament team outlines what they’ve learnt and sells their single proposal for action in a one-page Parliament paper (Green Paper) (due 5 May 2017 – end of week 2, term 2). (One Green Paper per Parliament team. Click here for the Green Paper Template and Green Paper Instructions 2017.)

5. Each Parliament team prepares a 5 minute presentation, based on their Green Paper.

6. Each Parliament team chooses one student to act as their Minister if their proposal is chosen as one of the best at the Parliament. Ministers prepare a one minute summary speech outlining and selling their proposal in case they need to present this at the Parliament.

7. At the Parliament in term 2, 2017, school teams meet in year group committees with other schools and as a full Parliament to deliver their presentations and vote on the best proposals to take forward to Canberra’s politicians.

Need more information?

Contact: Project Officer at E: parliament@see-change.org.au .


2016 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability
Parliament of Youth on Sustainability 2016 – Final 16 proposals (error on p2)
2015 student Ministers meet with MLAs
2015 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability
2013 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability

THANK YOU to our supporters

The 2017 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability project is supported by grant funding from:

ACT Government Education Directorate

Association of Independent Schools of the ACT


Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)


ACT Government Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate

ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment


Venue support is provided by the Australian National University


With thanks to our


  • AISACT-logo3
  • CatholicEducation-logo
  • ETD-logo
  • SEE-Change_ACT-Govt logo