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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (31 March) . . Page.. 1434..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

That is why I thought it was very important to bring the debate into this Assembly during Youth Week, so that we could actually get the commitment to see some progress in the next budget. Yes, a youth night shelter will take money. Maybe that is why none of these studies that the government has talked about have actually progressed, because there have not been any resources there. It is a very simple thing to support young people in our community. It will make such a difference to the lives of young people.

This morning here in the Assembly a group of young people were putting forth their stories about their lives in and out of Family Services, in and out of refuges, constantly looking for support because their lives were such that they were crying out for help. They indicated that they would love a shelter like this, that it could have helped them earlier on to stop the fall into the cycle of crisis that they are in now-somewhere where they could have stopped by during the night that would have helped them in the morning to get in contact with the right people, to work out the right answers to their problems. But now these children are in long-term crisis situations requiring intensive support to get their lives back on track, when a simple thing like a youth night shelter could have made such a difference to them earlier on. We definitely need a study to determine what accommodation model would be most useful and cost effective, but we know that a youth night shelter is needed.

What I hope to hear today is a commitment from the government to getting the research done and a timeframe for getting the youth night shelter started up and running in the coming financial year, so that we do actually have some real outcomes for the young people in our community.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (3.43): Mr Speaker, it is a bit rich for Ms Dundas to come in here and say there has been little action on the part of the government. I think it is rather ridiculous for Ms Dundas to come in here and say this is an important debate that we need to bring into this Assembly. Why do I think it is rich and ridiculous? Ms Dundas first proposed this motion, put it on the notice paper, on 4 March 2003, a year ago; so you are trying to tell me that this is important to you? "Let's do it; let's have some action."

Ms Dundas: I was hoping you'd have done something in the intervening 12 months, Minister.

MR WOOD: Just pay some attention. I can claim it is important because I think I can demonstrate it, but I do not think that you can claim it is important when you have to amend your motion to change the dates of the years you have in mind because it has been sitting on the notice paper for a year.

Mrs Burke: Well, she rests her case; you've done nothing since.

MR WOOD: Don't you attend to what's happening in this community? This raises the problem of private members business when you have got lots of things to do. You are one member in this Assembly; the government has a vast range of resources and I do not expect that you would know all the things that are going on. I do expect that you would know that there has been very intensive work on our homelessness strategy. You would


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