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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 February 2011) . . Page.. 83 ..

The ACT legislative operational policy framework provides a strong foundation for addressing the issues that lead young people into the criminal justice system. What is needed now is an open and inclusive conversation on what needs to be done to improve outcomes for young people beyond the current practice, to better meet the needs of young people at risk and provide a continuum of effective diversionary options.

The issues in this paper are bigger than politics. They involve all within our society. They require involvement, engagement and support by all of us who desire a positive future for all young Canberrans. I am sure that all of us would agree that each and every young person in the ACT should have the opportunities to achieve all that they can.

Effective diversion at the earliest opportunity will not only support young people to reach their potential but also pay a long-term dividend to the community as a whole. I encourage all members to be part of this dialogue and I look forward to the contributions from all practitioners, researchers, advocates and supporters of young people within the ACT.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.22): I welcome the paper that the minister has brought forward in relation to diversionary programs and the youth justice system. But in doing so, I am somewhat perplexed that this paper is being brought forward and there is a consultation process that seems in no way to relate to the Assembly’s established inquiry into the youth justice system.

The Labor Party and the Greens have gone to great lengths to say that the inquiry is a good inquiry, that it has been broadened from what was apparently a narrow approach from the Canberra Liberals. But then at the same time we have this process here. The minister has not at any stage in her remarks here or her remarks yesterday said how this will interface with the inquiry into the youth justice system.

It seems to me that the government is not serious about really looking into the youth justice system. I call upon the minister to come back into the Assembly and explain to the Assembly how this consultation process and how the engagement of people across the community—I note her last paragraph about encouraging a dialogue and looking forward to contributions from all practitioners, researchers, advocates and supporters of young people in the justice community—will feed into the inquiry set up by this Assembly.

I hope that the minister is not trying to circumvent that inquiry and I call upon her to tell the Assembly how these two things will fit together. If they do not fit together and she cannot give a satisfactory explanation, I undertake to bring this matter back more formally and require the minister to have these two things linked together.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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