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

2016 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability

291 students from 30 ACT schools presented and debated their 66 proposals for action to tackle climate change at the Parliament of Youth on Sustainability at the ANU on Monday 30 May 2016.

Students speak out on Canberra’s ecological footprint

Watch the Parliament of Youth on Sustainability vox pops video (6:30) to find out more about the Parliament and some of the proposals for action to reduce Canberra’s ecological footprint presented by the student parliamentarians on 30 May 2016.

Thanks to our student camera people, photographers and interviewers: Jonah Lafferty (Canberra College), Sam Ferguson (St Mary MacKillop College), Ewen Kennedy (Wanniassa School), Emy Obinna (Canberra College), Laura Johnston (Canberra Girls Grammar School and FM89.5 Voice of the Valley) and Katie Tabke (Trinity Christian School).

Student Ministers present White Paper to MLAs

The ACT Legislative Assembly could seriously consider some of the student proposals to reduce Canberra’s ecological footprint that came out of the 2016 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability. That’s what student Ministers found out on Wednesday 15 June when they presented the Parliament White Paper and the final six proposals from this year’s Parliament to the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services.


Final six proposals:

  • sensor taps in all ACT public places
  • vending machine rubbish bins
  • more wind turbines
  • street light timing changes
  • public bikes, and
  • banning ’boutique’ plastic bags

MLAs Joy Burch (Committee Chair), Andrew Wall and Alistair Coe (committee members) (pictured with the students) considered each proposal, asking the students how the ideas might be implemented, raising issues, comparing them to current Government programs, and suggesting possible improvements.

The MLAs were enthusiastic about the idea of street light sensors and could see the health and ecological footprint benefits of a public bike system. They suggested the possibility of providing rebates for installing sensor taps in every new home; thinking about handling different types of recycling for the vending bins proposal; taking into account information about prevailing winds in the ACT region when planning the placement of wind turbines; and, as well as introducing a levy on ‘Boutique Bags’, making them biodegradable.

Student Ministers for the other proposals in the final 16 from the Parliament were also able to outline their ideas with each sparking discussion about what is already happening around Canberra or in other Australian states, and how we could build on those activities.

Congratulations to the student Ministers for their excellent preparation for the meeting and their ability to express their ideas and answer questions clearly. Great effort!

Thanks also to Lillian Rowland, year 12 student from Canberra College, who gave up her time to meet with Joy for a briefing session the day before the meeting and for attending the meeting as a support person. And a big thank you to Joy, Andrew and Alistair for taking part in such an enjoyable and informative committee session.

Students take proposals to politicians at Parliament of Youth

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 2016 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability on Monday, 30 May 2016. 293 students and 66 proposals made for a busy day!

Listen to June Fang from Garran Primary School explaining her team’s proposal as presented at the Parliament; and watch Nathan Farme from Trinity Christian School on the WIN TV news segment.


Parliament of Youth on Sustainability 2016 – Final 16 proposals  – Check out the final six proposals voted in by the full Parliament of 293 students, as well as the other proposals that made it through the committee sessions to the full Parliament. The final six include:

  • sensor taps in all ACT public places
  • vending machine rubbish bins
  • more wind turbines
  • street light timing changes
  • public bikes, and
  • banning ’boutique’ plastic bags.

Simon Corbell addresses full Parliament - webFull Parliament crowd - cropped - web


With thanks to our


  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT)
  • Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
  • Education and Training Directorate
  • ACT Government