NEW REPRESENTATIVES: Youth parliament member for Lockyer 2019 Emily Hallas speaks in parliament.
NEW REPRESENTATIVES: Youth parliament member for Lockyer 2019 Emily Hallas speaks in parliament. Contributed

Youth member fights for housing, rural areas in parliament

WHILE their fellow youths were busy at work, or enjoy school holidays, a group of young Queenslanders were passing their own laws in state Parliament.

Youth Member for Lockyer Emily Hallas spent the week in Brisbane representing the electorate as part of the YMCA initiative, and it was business as usual for parliament.

Miss Hallas and her colleagues in the Energy, Housing and Infrastructure committee presented parliament with the Sustainable and Inclusive Housing Youth Bill 2019.

"It was about creating sustainable housing in Queensland. We discussed topics that included having solar panels, rain water tanks, efficient hot water systems and lighting on all property in Queensland” Miss Hallas said.

The bill had been contentious, and Miss Hallas and other members of the committee's refuting team proposed a number of amendments.

"We made the debate spicy by adding a certain percentage of new developments should be in rural communities to bring people out to the regions - the debate surrounding this was certainly lively.”

The bill passed with the amendments proposed.

Miss Hallas and her fellow youth members had been working towards the sitting week since the beginning of this year and said the whole experience had been "life changing”.

"It was incredible, I've learnt a lot being a part of the parliamentary process,” she said.

"It was a pretty big honour and privilege to even use the chamber in parliament house.”

"It has really broadened my mind by talking to likeminded youths about topics they're concerned about with Queensland's future.”

The YMCA program was well supported by state politicians, including Lockyer Valley MP Jim McDonald.

Miss Hallas encouraged youth aged 16 to 25 to consider applying for next year's parliament.

"I wish I would have done it sooner,” she said.