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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 2559..


MR BARR (continuing):

believe that, with more information, parents can make better choices with their children.

Other issues we will consider include at what age children should work. The 1999 act currently legislates for the employment of children and young people to the age of 15 years. This corresponds with the Education Act 2004. This work will, in part, inform the development of our new earn or learn policy.

The issue of work in the entertainment or film industries raises a number of questions. Many children and young people have fun—clearly have fun—working in the entertainment or film industries. Being on stage or in front of a camera can be a great experience. We have an obligation, though, to ensure that demands on children in this setting are not overly demanding and that children are not exploited in any way. Children are just that: children. They should not be forced to grow up before their time.

Volunteer work in the children and young people's area forms a vital part in our communities. We want to make sure that our employment standards reflect the realities and practicalities of volunteering. We should all be encouraging our children and young people to volunteer with a range of organisations.

In conclusion, jobs, training and skills are important to young people. That is why the government has put forward this amendment. It will allow young people to improve their skills and to engage with a wide range of employment opportunities. A lot of work has occurred in this area. But, as I have indicated, there is more still to be done. We will continue to work to ensure the territory's young people are earning or learning and that the employment conditions for children and young people are safe, appropriate and in their best interests.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Health—H1N1 influenza

Ministerial statement

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Women), by leave: I thank members for their agreement to allow this statement to be given this morning at short notice.

Since late April, when the ACT initiated its public health response to H1N1 influenza 09, or human swine influenza, our response has been guided by territory, national and international pandemic response plans. Monitoring of the disease at all levels has been excellent, and close liaison among health authorities at the commonwealth and jurisdictional levels has facilitated the sharing of vital


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