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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3059 ..

multidisciplinary outreach service that supports young people aged 12 to 25 who are living with mental health concerns.

Outside the mental health portfolio, the wellbeing and mental health of young people have been considered throughout the pandemic, including in the education portfolio, with another $7 million in funding for youth and social workers to be based in ACT government schools.

I notice, too, that the new CIT at Woden will include an on-campus, multi-bed youth foyer that will also provide integrated learning, accommodation and support for young people who are committed to their education and training but are at risk of homelessness. Similarly, I was thrilled to learn that the Safe and Connected Youth Program, helping young people at risk of homelessness, has received operational funding, as well as an injection of capital funding for the building of a purpose-built residential facility. All credit and congratulations must lie at the feet of the Youth Coalition of the ACT for their considered advocacy for this program, as well as Northside Community Service, Woden Community Service and the Conflict Resolution Service.

Madam Speaker, people like you and I are very lucky. During this COVID-19 pandemic we have had the money and the resources to be able to work from home without concern about whether we will come into contact with the virus. All the while, brilliant young people in the ACT in low-paid, hard-to-do jobs have been really picking up the slack in this economy and in this community to keep Canberra strong.

I would like to give a shout out to all of these young people that are keeping our city moving. The 15-year-old working at a Macca’s drive-through: I see you. The first-year nurse who did not know, upon graduating, that they would be part of the government’s response to a global pandemic: I see you. The young people of this city are an inspiration. I am proud to be one; I am proud to work with them; I am proud to represent them and advocate for them in this place.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (5.18): I thank Mr Pettersson for moving this very important motion. During the last Assembly, I served on a committee that undertook an inquiry into youth mental health in the ACT. Our final report made 66 recommendations, some of which are reflected in this motion today.

There is no doubt that there is an ongoing mental health crisis affecting young people, and the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened this crisis in many ways. Each extension of lockdown has increased anxiety and stress for many youth. Three weeks ago, when year 12 students were told by Ms Berry that they would be returning to school for the beginning of term 4, there was widespread rejoicing. Sadly, this assurance proved to be misleading, with only some year 12 students returning to school this week and next for a very limited number of activities. Students not included in those activities are still waiting.

Young people deal well with clearly explained expectations, but they do not deal well with having their expectations raised and then dashed, as happened for many of Canberra’s year 12 students this week. This situation will only add to the mental

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