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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 1974 ..

Inquiry into Use of Skateboards

MS TUCKER: I wish to inform the Assembly, pursuant to standing order 246A, that on 14 June 1996 the Standing Committee on Social Policy resolved to inquire into and report on the use of skateboards and in-line skates near shops, with particular reference to:

(1) the needs of young people;

(2) pedestrian safety issues; and

(3) any related matter.

I drew this matter to the attention of the Social Policy Committee in response to Mr Hird's proposed amendment to the Traffic Act, which would have restricted the use of skateboards or in-line skates or rollerblades within 10 metres of shops. Mr Hird was quite happy to have this issue looked at within the committee, as was Ms Reilly, the other member of the committee.

I think this is an important opportunity to look at this issue with young people. While a previous committee in this place looked at similar sorts of issues, that committee looked only at Garema Place and no recommendations to change legislation came out of that. There was a recommendation that there be an education campaign. It would be interesting for our committee to evaluate how that campaign worked. Obviously, the need for education is ongoing. Although the education campaign occurred for a short time after that inquiry, obviously, we have a new generation of skateboard users now, so there is not much point in thinking that anything is happening for this particular group of people.

I think it is also a really good opportunity for the Social Policy Committee once again to include people who would not normally talk to Assembly committees. I have spoken to Mr Stefaniak about this. We are writing to all schools and colleges, inviting them to participate. We have suggested a number of ways. We have suggested discussing the subject as part of a civics program, holding a debate on the issue, discussing the matter in the students representative council or bringing a group of students to the Assembly to put their views to the committee. We also thought we could have a public hearing at a school, depending on the number of schools that were interested. It is definitely a good opportunity to help address the alienation from the political system that a lot of young people in our community feel. They obviously have to live with the consequences of our laws, but quite often feel that they do not have any real input into what those laws are. This will also be an opportunity for people who have concerns about the irresponsible use of skateboards, and no doubt we will be hearing from the Council on the Ageing and other groups who feel particularly vulnerable to the irresponsible use of skateboards.

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