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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 October 2010) . . Page.. 4883 ..

The department also engages and consults with young people through the annual Youth InterACT Conference, and feedback from this forum has been vital in further policy development.

Consultation for the children and young people’s plan was from young people from a diverse group of backgrounds, life experiences, cultures and abilities. In response to the engagement and consultation with young people, the department’s Office for Children, Youth and Family Support facilitated a whole-of-government response to report on the progress of the 2010 implementation plan. This progress report will be tabled later this year. The department also engages and consults with young people through the Youth InterACT strategy which was launched by this government in 2002.

Broadly speaking, we engage with young people on issues that matter to them. This is something that we take quite seriously. This is why we committed in 2008 to provide an annual budget of $20,000 to the Youth Advisory Council to hold forums, conduct online consultation and engage with young people who might otherwise not be heard. The Youth Advisory Council meets on a monthly basis and its co-chairs meet regularly with me to discuss current issues and to work with the council and its wider consultation. The YAC is an important group and does provide valuable information to me. The YAC comprises 15 young people, ranging in age and experience. It also undertakes public forums and is a good strong portal for youth.

National Youth Week in Canberra is another significant example of the department’s engagement with young people in Canberra. Each year the department engages with other jurisdictions in the planning of National Youth Week and supports the ACT young persons representation in that planning process.

Through the Youth InterACT website, the department further extensively talks to young people in Canberra. A total of over 990 young people and other community members have registered on that site. We have also provided additional funding and a new space for the multicultural youth service. This was a deliberate exercise to enhance our connections with our multicultural youth.

As I have described briefly, the department extensively consults and talks with young people in the ACT in order to address the issues of young people. This is an extensive piece of work of the department and is clear evidence of this government’s commitment to meeting the needs of the young people in our community.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary question?

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, could you please tell us what the composition is of the Youth Advisory Council?

MS BURCH: There has been a number of changes to the Youth Advisory Council this year with the terms of a number of members expiring. An extensive recruitment process was undertaken to seek new members, and the department received 23 applications. Nine new members began their term at the October meeting just recently, and these members have been appointed for a term of two years with an option of a third year.

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