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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (31 March) . . Page.. 1468..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

I want to put on the record that I did not know that he had received a letter from those two groups. I want to make that clear because the implication Mr Stanhope was making was that they had sent me a copy. I want it to be clear that in fact that was not the case. I think it would be quite compromising for them if that were thought to be the case. I just want to make it quite clear that that was not the case; I did not know that a letter had been sent at all until Mr Stanhope told me.

Youth information referral resource service

MRS BURKE (5.51): I would like to praise the efforts of two very committed and passionate women in our community. I have mentioned them in a previous debate today but I think it is worth expanding a little more on what they do. Tanya Keed and Christine Darcy are working very hard at this time to secure services to assist young people between the ages of 12 and 21 who may be in crisis and at risk from homelessness, domestic violence and family breakdown. They manage and operate-on, I have to say, a shoestring budget, using their own money and resources-the youth information referral resource service, a service based in the ACT.

Whilst both Tanya and Christine are Aboriginal, their purpose is to provide a service not solely to the indigenous community but to all Canberra's youth in need-a very commendable project and worthy of support. They are currently desperately seeking funding to continue the service, and I know that they have made submissions to the government to try and get some money to make sure that this valuable service continues.

It just seems to have snowballed. Word gets around very quickly amongst street children; they soon know who is on their side and who is not. These women are up at all hours of the day and night-and they are trying to hold down jobs as well-to make sure that young people in our city are not left vulnerable. We talked about that earlier in a debate today about the youth night shelter, which Ms Dundas brought up.

The youth information referral resource service would be based in the ACT and would be utilised by people in the ACT and surrounding area. It would take referrals from government and non-government organisations to assist youth in crisis and youth at risk from homelessness, domestic violence and family breakdown for whatever reasons. They would have contact with organisations within the ACT and surrounding area and have access to ongoing programs to assist young people between the ages of 12 and 21 and engage them back into the community.

The commendable part of this program is that it is not simply throwing money at young people; it is making them be responsible in part for their own actions and helping them to reintegrate with society and the community. We need to look very carefully when we fund programs that we are not just funding a program for the program's sake. But I think we should give the service the support that they need because they realise that young people have to be a part of the solution.

It is not good enough to say, "We'll pander to your every whim."These women are making young people responsible by teaching them things like basic living skills, personal hygiene, safe sex, healthy relationships and housing options to combat homelessness. They are putting them through self-esteem courses and helping them with

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