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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (31 March) . . Page.. 1445..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

because we have already done it."That is what I was actually hoping for. We have had that happen before. The government has said, "This motion is superfluous. We are already doing it. We are happy to let it through."To hear the minister say that the budget is already set in stone was interesting when in estimates we hear the Treasurer say up to the very last minute, "We are continually revising the budget, always working on initiatives."The Treasurer has said that again and again. I compliment the government on their process this time around, but we need to recognise that the provision of a youth night shelter should be a priority.

Mr Wood: I'm happy with that. Can I put it on the record?

MS DUNDAS: The minister indicates that he his happy for the youth night shelter to be a priority. This has been on the Labor government's agenda since that first ministerial statement in 2001. It has been mentioned before then and after and in countless budget submissions. The minister said that I should have debated this a year ago, when it was first put on the notice paper. I put it on the notice paper as warning to the government that this was an issue that I wanted to see progressed.

I held off on the debate while the Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity completed its investigations into the rights, interests and wellbeing of children and young people and awaited the government's response to that report. I hoped that, with all the discussion that was happening and the focus that was being afforded to young people in the community, we would see this moving forward.

In the ongoing discussions I have been having with the youth sector and with young people, the evidence put to me was that it was not progressing. That is why I moved this motion today and sought the Assembly's support for it. The motion calls for the ACT government to make the establishment of a youth night shelter a high priority for next financial year.

I have already indicated, in my opening comments, that the format the youth night shelter would take is incredibly flexible. Saying "a high priority"is about making sure that the idea is actually progressed over the next financial year. Maybe it will be progressed earlier than that, from the comments that Minister Wood made. Maybe it will not. But it is something that we cannot afford to let drop off the agenda, and this motion puts loud and clear on the agenda that we want to see young people in our community supported at all hours of the day.

I will say again what has already been said in this debate: the need is established and we are asking that it be a high priority. I hope that members can see the benefits of what we are talking about today and can support this commitment to getting the necessary work done and a timeframe for getting work commenced on supporting young people over the next financial year.

Motion agreed to.

Civics and electoral education programs

MR HARGREAVES (4.30): I move:


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