Page 4158 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 December 2022

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securing $4 million to go towards providing youth mental health services in Gungahlin, through the expansion of the ACT government’s childhood early intervention program. This will ensure these services are readily available to local children in the Gungahlin district aged five to 12 who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression and other challenges. This is very welcome because the number of young people in Gungahlin in that age range is 11,208—a 29 per cent increase from the previous census.

I applaud the call in paragraph (4)(b) to advocate for the federal government to fund a headspace located in Gungahlin, and I also support Mr Cocks’s amendment regarding that particular call.

Headspace has demonstrated that it is cost effective, well designed and aligned to the mental health needs of young people. As the headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan, stated:

We know headspace is a place young people and families turn to for support during difficult times which became particularly apparent when the community was faced with climate change events such as bushfires, droughts, floods and other major events such as Covid-19. It’s important to note that these events were all occurring during a global mental health workforce shortage, putting additional pressure on those working in the sector.

I would welcome such investment in the Gungahlin district to help meet the needs of young people there. In the last census the Gungahlin population in the age range for headspace was 15,382. This population will continue to increase significantly, particularly as the demographic bow wave of young people grow, and move into the teenage years and young adulthood. This population also includes a greater proportion of intersectional vulnerabilities, including race and limited English proficiency.

I also wish to speak to paragraph (4)(e) of the motion, which states:

(e) provide suitable social and recreational spaces for young people in Gungahlin where they can develop their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities;

I applaud Minister Davidson’s comments about the development and rollout of skating infrastructure in the Gungahlin district and would wholeheartedly support that.

For many years it has been acknowledged that Gungahlin requires a safe and inclusive space to which young people in the region can have easy access. A number of drop-in-type programs have been trialled in some local schools and colleges, but there have been difficulties with transport links and access issues which have excluded many young people.

I wish to talk about Gunners Place, a youth drop-in space that was established in the Marketplace Gungahlin, run in collaboration by Barnardos Australia, Northside Community Service and Multicultural Hub Canberra. Gunners Place provided a centrally located safe space for the young people of Gungahlin to drop in and access supports and information.

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