THERE'S a new politician in town, and he's on a mission to give young people a voice in state parliament.
Maitland Grossmann High year 11 student Ben Woodland is the city's only youth parliamentarian, and just one of 60 young people from across the state participating in this year's YMCA Youth Parliament.
The aspiring politician said he has always had an interest in the political sphere and saw the youth advocacy program as an incredible opportunity to make a difference.
"I wanted to go into youth parliament and make change to NSW, and help people in any way that I can," he said.
"There's an absence of youth representation in parliament. There are members who represent the youth but there are no young people there." Mr Woodland was named Minister for Employment and Business in the 2019 YMCA Youth Parliament.
He hopes to use this opportunity to change NSW legislation and help stop young people from clocking up 'horrendous' Afterpay and ZipPay debts. "I have friends, both young and old, who have been thrown into debt because of a lack of knowledge on the implications that follow," he said.
As part of the program, the aspiring parliamentarians have drawn up a bill in relation to their chosen issue and then will submit it to state parliament next month.
Mr Woodland was nominated by Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison to represent her electorate in the NSW 2019 YMCA Youth Parliament.