Page 888 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022

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We have undertaken co-design activities with children and young people at risk of homelessness to understand their needs. The ACT housing strategy provides a commitment to reducing homelessness and addressing gaps in our services system and to responding to new and emerging groups vulnerable to homelessness. Recent co-design activities undertaken by the Community Services Directorate include a therapeutic residential care home for young people in out of home care, a collaboration between Child and Youth Protection Services and Housing ACT and, as part of the Safe and Connected Youth program, the redevelopment of a Housing ACT property, co-designed with young people who have a lived experience of homelessness.

We continue to provide opportunities for young people to have a voice in the plans we develop and the platforms we introduce. The ACT Youth Advisory Council gives young people aged between 12 and 25 years an opportunity to take a leading role on issues that affect their lives and ways to raise concerns of young people with government and the community. The council has a key role in giving young people a voice to the ACT government. In 2021, the council published a consent brochure that was developed by young people for young people from diverse backgrounds, gender and sexualities. Sexual consent is a fundamental issue that impacts the safety of young people in our community. The brochure is a starting point for young people to have an open conversation about consent and supports young people to be comfortable in their sexual decisions.

In June 2021, the government, in partnership with the council, hosted the 2021 ACT youth assembly. It provided young Canberrans aged 12 to 25 years an opportunity to engage with the ACT government and share ideas on how to advance the agenda for youth issues. We had 109 young people with diverse backgrounds and experiences attend the Assembly to share ideas and develop innovative solutions to issues related to young people’s roles in an inclusive society: environment and sustainability, resilience, rights and respectful relationships, and youth employment. The 2021 ACT youth assembly report includes recommendations for the ACT government and will be released in mid-2022.

We support opportunities for ACT students to come together to discuss issues which matter to them and affect their education. The ACT minister’s student congress is a student voice initiative. Participating in the congress provides public school students experience in leadership, in advocacy, in organisational and networking skills as well as with opportunities to interact with government. In the past year, the congress addressed the pandemic response and gave advice on how to best support the move to online learning and then back to the classroom.

Mr Acting Speaker, it is exciting to see the progress we have all made towards the ACT children and young people’s commitment 2015-2025. We know that we need a whole-of-community approach to further enhance the wellbeing of children and young people in Canberra. The challenges faced in recent years have presented us with new ideas and ways of working together. The upcoming release of the children and young people wellbeing dashboard will provide greater transparency on the

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