Youth pollie takes ward closure to NSW parliament
WHILE other students will be relaxing over the July holidays, Vanamali Hermans will take to New South Wales Parliament a call for Murwillumbah's birthing service to re-open.
The Murwillumbah High student is one of 170 youth from across NSW selected to debate and advocate at YMCA's Youth Parliament.
Over half a dozen pieces of Youth Legislation in the last 14 years have since been passed into NSW law.
Vanamali has been chosen to act as the voice for the Tweed Shire of the Lismore Electorate at Parliament House this week.
Vanamali will deliver a private member's statement on Thursday calling for the re-opening of Murwillumbah Hospital's birthing service.
On Sunday she was elected as 'Shadow Minister for Regional NSW', so her speaking time on the topic has extended from one minute to five.
"I believe it's time the state government stopped overlooking regional healthcare and will be telling them so in Parliament next week," she said.
"As a Murwillumbah baby myself, I know how essential this service is to the community.
"I have been able to speak to some expectant mums and am shocked at how the closure has affected their birthing plans."
The Greens party member has since January 2015 been a member of the local Environment and Heritage Committee, before being elected to the Youth Parliament.
"Although a risky choice to participate during year 12, I chose to participate in Youth Parliament because I believe in representing the interests of regional communities," she said.
Vanamali has been crafting a Coal Phase-Out Bill which she will present as Shadow Minister for the Environment.
"To me, this is the issue that will define our generation," she said.
"As we continue to see the economic, environmental, social and health impacts of coal impact our communities, we still pick this dirty energy over renewables.
"The fossil fuel industry is on life support and we believe it's time to pull the plug."
The bill will be debated this week in the NSW Legislative Assembly and voted on by all Youth Members.
At the end of the week all bills voted for by the Youth Parliamentarians are presented to the NSW Government and Opposition for consideration.
"To me, Youth Parliament means 170 of the most passionate and inspired friends working together to make our state better," Vanamali said.