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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4328


Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (13:36): Continuing my Youth Voices in Parliament campaign, I'd like to share the voice of Sahitha, a Year 7 student from my electorate who has dreams of becoming a politician. Today she would like to raise the issue of heavy schoolbags. These are her words: 'It's the time of year when our education gets tough, when we receive loads of homework and we have to carry a lot of books. I understand that we are opening the door to higher education, but the fact that we young children need to carry humongous loads is ridiculous. Physiotherapists say that children should be carrying 10 per cent of their weight. I weigh 49 kilograms and 10 per cent of the amount is 4.9. When my schoolbag was weighed it reached seven kilograms. That is 2.1 more kilograms than the weight I should be carrying. This can lead to back pain, shoulder injuries and a hunched back. It was definitely a big jump from primary school to high school. In primary, all we had to carry was a bag with lunch, homework and our hats and drink bottle. Then came high school—three to eight periods with three to eight different books. Some classes have additional books. Then there's food and water, hats and equipment if doing extra activities as well as our laptops. The difference is gigantic. If immediate action is not taken, the government will need to spend more money on health care in coming years. This could be fixed by allowing teachers to keep our books unless we have homework or to give students lockers to hold the books they don't need. I hope this issue is taken seriously and further actions are taken.' Well said, Sahitha. I'll pass your comments onto the relevant ministers and shadows, state and federal, and ask them to address your issues. Keep speaking up.