Page 4159 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 December 2022

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The important thing about this space was that it was centrally located, close to transport links and accessible not just for young people but for other community groups, who could utilise the space when it was not being utilised as a youth drop-in centre. Young people were actively involved in the set-up of Gunners Place from day one and it allowed for a range of services to be provided.

The service created strong links with schools and colleges, local business chamber and local public representatives. It created and fostered a sense of empowerment and self-advocacy within the local youth community and led to a sense of ownership over the program from the young people.

It utilised a hard-to-lease site that allowed the program to offer a safe space to Gungahlin young people from which data, outcomes and experiences could be utilised to advocate for a more permanent, long-term solution to best meet the needs of young people in Gungahlin.

I have used the past tense to refer to Gunners Place because they were required to vacate their premises not once but twice. They are now desperately seeking a space in Gungahlin to make their own so as to serve the needs of the Gungahlin community. I have been working with Barnardos and other non-governmental organisations to find a new location for Gunners Place. I believe that if we can ensure that such a space is made available, the service would be highly successful and never short of work.

In closing, I commend Mr Pettersson for this motion and look forward to everyone being able to agree that it is important to address the mental health services that we provide for young people.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (3.44): In closing, I want to confirm my support for Mr Cocks’s amendments. It is not every day that another member picks up one of your committee reports and thinks that there is some value in it, so I appreciate the amendment.

I would like to thank all members for their contributions today. I think they were all significant and important. I particularly want to thank the many young Canberrans that have shared with me their mental health journeys. It is hard to speak up, but it is a good thing that you have.

We should never think about youth mental health as a “one and done” issue. This government certainly does not, having invested tens of millions of dollars in mental health and community care supports for many years. But I do believe there is always more work to be done to improve access to these services.

Specifically, we need to be strategic in locating mental health supports in our community. That is why I think having a headspace in Gungahlin is such a good idea. I am also optimistic that the other action items included my motion will drive better outcomes for mental health services in Canberra.

In closing, I would again like to thank all members who have contributed to this debate and the many young people of Gungahlin.

Amendments agreed to.

Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.

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