Deaf Team Breaking Down Barriers at Youth Parliament


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    Empowered young deaf people are breaking down barriers by presenting a Public Transport Accessibility Bill to the Victorian Youth Parliament at 1:30pm Thursday 6 July. The Deafhood team, put together by Deaf Children Australia (DCA), is part of the YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament 2017.

    The Deafhood team networking during Parliament Week

    The Deafhood team member Olivia Beasley says, “We need to make public transport in Victoria accessible for everyone who is deaf or hard of hearing. Currently, there are countless services in place for hearing people on trains, trams and buses, as well as at stations and stops, where an equal, deaf-accessible service does not exist. These issues make travelling on the public transport system dangerous and difficult for those who cannot hear, as well as the wider community, including tourists, people where English isn’t their first language, and the elderly.”

    Deaf Children Australia’s CEO, Dean Barton-Smith AM, states, “YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament creates fantastic opportunities for young people to learn how to become powerful advocates. We appreciate that the Parliament of Victoria is committed to being inclusive of all citizens, and we are excited about this opportunity for deaf young people to have their say through the YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament. Having a deaf team involved for the first time highlights the importance of accessibility in Parliament. Everyone should have the chance to participate in democratic processes.”

    YMCA Victoria Youth Services Manager Ian Boorman says, “YMCA Victoria prides itself on providing opportunities for all young people to discover what’s possible. The partnership with Deaf Children Australia and this first initiative is allowing us to learn about how we can adapt our programs so they are truly inclusive for all young people.”

    For the past 30 years, Youth Parliament has given young Victorians between the ages of 16 – 25 a chance to be heard at the highest levels of State Government, on a wide range of issues that matter to them. The Bills provide the Victorian Government with a greater understanding of what issues are important to young people. More than 25 pieces of State Legislation have come from the YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament.

    This exciting Youth Parliament program is run by YMCA Victoria in conjunction with the Victorian Government and is led by a volunteer Taskforce of past participants. Involving a Deaf team is the first initiative of DCA and YMCA Victoria’s partnership to progress their shared goal to empower young people to take active roles in their communities. DCA wishes to acknowledge the generous support of the Department of Health and Human Services in providing funding towards the cost of interpreting and other access needs.

    Click here for more info, including team member profiles and links to The Deafhood’s Facebook page.

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