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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3336..


Community Services and Social Equity-Standing Committee

Report No 3

MR HARGREAVES (11.05): I present the following report:

Community Services and Social Equity-Standing Committee-Report No 3-The rights, interests and well-being of children and young people, dated August 2003, together with a copy of the extracts of the minutes of proceedings.

I seek leave to move a motion authorising the report for publication.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: I move:

That the report be authorised for publication.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

MR HARGREAVES: I move:

That the report be noted.

I am pleased to furnish the Assembly with the report into the rights, interests and wellbeing of children and young people. The Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity has taken many months in coming to a series of recommendations that we feel will increase the quality of life of many young people; will address discrimination against all young people and, without being overly dramatic, may save the life of a young person. The committee was concerned that the many valuable Assembly standing committee reports-and select committee reports for that matter-dealing with issues around children and young people over the years, such as the report into children at risk, have been gathering dust or keeping doors open. I implore the government and the Assembly not to allow this fate to befall this report.

In defining what was a child and what was a young person the committee noted the definition contained in the Children and Young People Act. That is that a child is a person under 12 years of age and a young person is 12 years and older but not yet 18 years old. The committee was also mindful of the definition from the United Nations General Assembly, which defines a youth as being between 15 years and 24 years inclusive.

The committee received 20 submissions and conducted public and in-camera hearings; travelled to Tasmania, Queensland and New South Wales and spoke to children's commissioners in those states. The committee also spoke to officers in the various departments in those jurisdictions who have had responsibility for the welfare of young people. They also spoke to youth organisations and other professionals involved in children's and young persons welfare.

The committee met with young people where they gathered. We put on a barbeque in a youth centre in Civic, spoke to the young people at the Bay-a youth facility and


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