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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 5 Hansard (9 April) . .

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Yesterday I went out to the PCYC rocks open day at Erindale. Again, lots of young people were there, trying out activities from rock climbing to box tag, all done to the background of live music and DJ sets.

Other events happening this week include a young carers breakfast being hosted at the National Zoo & Aquarium by St Vincent De Paul for young carers and their families. The Lanyon youth festival is on this Friday at Lanyon, hosted by the YWCA.

There is Youth Homelessness Matters Day, which will be launched tomorrow here at the Assembly. I am very pleased to lend my support to this initiative and be a youth homelessness day ambassador in 2013. The aim of Youth Homelessness Matters Day is to increase the awareness within the community of the vast number of young people who do not have a safe place to call home. It is concerning that almost half the homeless population are aged under 25, and many of these people are not necessarily sleeping on the streets, as is the common image of a homeless person; they are, instead, often couch surfing or sleeping in their cars.

Many of the homeless youth in the ACT are seeking to better themselves by attending one of the great tertiary institutions in the ACT or are undertaking a trade-based apprenticeship. Given the sometimes high costs associated with maintaining transport and acquiring the tools of the trade required to undertake further study, often there simply is not enough money left over each week to access stable accommodation within the ACT.

As part of Youth Homelessness Matters Day, the community are encouraged to take the pledge to go without their bed on 10 April. I would encourage all members of this place to experience what it is like to be without proper accommodation for just one night.

I know many of my colleagues have already been out at Youth Week activities. I encourage all members to get out and have a look at what is on and support the various activities that celebrate the young people of our great city.

Older Canberrans

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (4.27): Today I spoke with my constituent Mrs Mary Pearson, who reminded me that often it is small things that have a big impact on social participation and quality of life for older Canberrans.

In 2012 Mary wrote to government members requesting an extension to a footpath that would safely connect her house to her bus stop and improvements to city transport facilities that would allow her to move about central Canberra. After appropriate assessment, the extension of her footpath has been delivered and improvements which had been planned for the city have been implemented.

I was speaking to Mary today. She told me about the value of public transport to herself and other older people. She told me that without access to a private vehicle, public transport is an important link to the rest of the community.


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