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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 17 February 2005 2005) . . Page.. 595 ..

Community Services and Social Equity—Standing Committee

Report 7—government response

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Community Services and Social Equity—Standing Committee—Report 7—One-way roads out of Quamby: Transition options for young people exiting juvenile detention in the ACT (presented 17 August 2004)—Government response.

I seek leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MS GALLAGHER: I am pleased to present the government’s response to report 7 of the Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity. Report 7 was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 17 August 2004.

The government is committed to improving the provision of services to our most at-risk children and young people. The standing committee highlighted the fact that children and young people in Quamby are some of the most disadvantaged members of our community. It noted that many of these people have complex needs and are often caught in a cycle of moving in and out of Quamby. They confront innumerable difficulties in reengaging with the community. The report concluded that they require more support.

Against this background, the committee made 10 recommendations. The government supports in full five of those recommendations. A further two are agreed in principle, two are agreed in part and one has been noted. The government concurs that children and young people in Quamby are some of the most disadvantaged citizens. It is seeking significantly improved outcomes for them.

The measures set out in the government response to the committee’s recommendations give effect to the rights of children and young people in detention under the Human Rights Act 2004. Specifically, subsection 11 (2) provides for the right of every child to the protection needed by the child because of being a child, section 10 provides for the humane treatment of people when deprived of liberty, and section 20 relates to the rights of children and young people in the criminal process.

There is a clear need to break the cycle of juvenile detention. The key to achieving this is through the provision of early intervention and prevention programs; stronger transitioning and diversionary practices, such as youth conferencing; and circle sentencing.

A number of initiatives have recently been canvassed in the ACT young people’s plan 2004-08 and in the government’s response to the Territory as parent report. Actions have also been identified in the blueprint for young people ‘at risk’ 2004-08, including the youth at risk skills development program and a best practice framework for involving young people in the development of services provided for them. It is essential that the

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