Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (9 March) . . Page.. 520..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
Given that this is a change to the original reporting date, the government can indicate its preparedness to report on progress at the end of March this year, to seek to honour that part of the motion originally agreed to by the Assembly as far as is reasonably possible. This is a complex issue, and a considered policy response is required that builds on all levels of government, business and community initiatives. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.00): Thanks, Mr Corbell, for the indication that the government is putting serious effort into implementing the motion that the Assembly agreed to last year. Of course, I am certainly not going to insist that we stick with the original reporting date, because it does not sound as though all the work has been done. But I would be very interested in a progress report, or an indication of what the government has done, and I would also be interested in perhaps contributing to setting up the framework for the way that you will do this work. I believe there are people in the Canberra community that could assist, and I would like to be brought into the loop perhaps at this stage of working out exactly how the government will go about implementing the motion that the Assembly passed last year.
Motion agreed to.
Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2005 (No 2)
Clauses 1 to 3.
Debated resumed from 7 March 2005.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.02): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 607].
I would like to point out the seriousness of the issues that the amendment addresses and the immediate need to make the health and wellbeing of our young people accused of offending of paramount importance. A 2003 Victorian study showed that young offenders were far more likely to die than people of the same age in the general population, even those with psychiatric and behavioural disorders. Amongst these young offenders, drug-related issues and suicide were the leading causes of death. The study implied that social policies for young offenders should address drug and mental health problems as well as the high levels of social disadvantage. Whilst we lack similar data for the ACT, we could expect comparable figures.
My amendment proposes that, if a decision is to be made in relation to a young offender, the decision maker must give paramount importance to the principle that the young person should be dealt with in a way that acknowledges his or her needs and that will provide the opportunity to develop in socially responsible ways. This amendment seeks to recognise that many young offenders arrive in the criminal system as a result of poor