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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 September 2010) . . Page.. 4228 ..

directly in assessment and evaluation processes, ensure they are advised of the results of their work and encourage children and young people’s participation in any redesign or repair work to reduce incidents of vandalism and wilful damage.

The insight and level of detail that often emerge from participatory processes involving children and young people surprise some adults. These processes are always great fun and very rewarding, and this is a way of getting a fresh perspective on a project. The Greens believe that for processes to be both efficient and interesting for young people and provide valuable information for planners and designers, four factors must be taken into account. First, the process must be specifically designed for the age group of participants. Second, objectives must be clear and facilitators must be selected and briefed to achieve these objectives. Third, the process must be well resourced, especially in terms of materials, equipment and personnel. Finally, the results of the process must be carefully analysed and integrated into the results of other participatory processes. This ensures that all information is shared and that the children and young people’s participation is not treated as token.

The success of children and young people’s participatory planning or design processes depends largely on the goodwill and driving leadership for their involvement. It must have people who are committed to the outcomes on all levels supporting the facilitating and engaging of the children and young people and the implementation of the outcomes that they envisage. We know how young people would like to be involved, as there is a large body of work that tells us. As gatekeepers to many opportunities, we need to let go of archaic beliefs of “seen but not heard” and open our minds to hear and work to implement a different point of view. Chances are that we will then achieve a great outcome.

The ACT Greens challenge the ACT government to ensure that children and young people are involved in the future planning and directions of the city in which they live. As citizens and users of services, they are the ones who can make sure services, facilities, agencies and organisations are relevant to them. Their participation ensures what is provided is what is needed. Children and young people are more likely to support the outcome if they have been involved in developing it. We need to look at better practice in this area from around Australia and learn from their experiences and replicate where appropriate but, more importantly, get children and young people involved in setting the agenda to ensure Canberra is the best it can be.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.03): Mr Speaker, I think that it is worth putting on record the difference in approach that is needed when it comes to consulting with children and/or young people. I do not think there is any doubt that, as children grow into young adults—when they become teenagers, getting into their 14th, 15th and 16th years—they get greater responsibilities and a greater ability to make a contribution in their community and to have their say in various ways.

I think though that it is worth touching on some of the problems that I see with the Greens’ approach, which is effectively to turn young children into urban planners, amongst other things. I think that it is worth just reflecting on some of the practical realities of that—and perhaps also on some of the underlying messages that are coming from the Greens in relation to this issue.

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