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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 950 ..

MS CARNELL: Well, fairly obviously, you believed him, and I would not do that. Mr Speaker, it is absolutely essential when we are looking at service delivery, particularly in an area such as youth, and in other areas as well, that we make sure that the service we are providing is of the highest quality, is flexible and is most responsive to the needs of the people we are servicing. In this case that is the young people of Canberra.

It has been determined, as part of an ACT Government-wide strategy, that two of the centres in Canberra need to have their services reviewed. There are any number of reasons why that would be the case, and the reasons are nothing to do with the centres at all, Mr Speaker. They are to do with the needs of the kids that those centres look after, and to make sure that we do have an integrated, flexible and innovative set of services right across Canberra.

This is the first time, at least in my time here, that a motion like this has been brought forward. There are many community groups - I am sure the Minister would agree with this - that have one-year contracts. In fact, since we came to government, a lot more have three-year contracts than did under the previous Government. But three-year contracts are not a right, particularly when the Government believes, as we do in this case, that we can make the services more innovative, more appropriate and maybe more reflective of the needs of the kids in the area.

It is interesting that people opposite did not bother to check out whether there was any approach that would improve the services here. We might be able to get a more integrated service if we bring together some of the services that are provided in Civic for kids. If we have more flexible opening hours for our youth centres, maybe that is a smart approach. Maybe we should not have a youth centre in Civic that closes at 5 o'clock. Maybe we should have a youth centre that is open at the times that the kids are here. It may be a big ask, Mr Speaker, but we believe that we can get better. The way to get better, of course, is to have a full review of the services that are needed, and whom do you ask, Mr Speaker? You ask the kids. You ask the other services that are operating in the area. Mr Speaker, I wonder whether those opposite bothered to check with the umbrella youth group, YANACT. Mr Corbell, did you check with the umbrella group? Did you check with YANACT? What is their view? They did not, Mr Speaker, and I know they did not.

Mr Speaker, the position that has been put forward this evening is not necessarily the view of the youth sector. In fact, I would have to say it is potentially not the view of the youth sector at all. From the discussions that I have had with their umbrella group, YANACT, and others in this area, they believe that youth centres do need to change over time. Some areas, particularly Woden and Civic at this stage, should be part of a review to see whether we can look after our kids better. That question was not asked by those opposite because they saw an opportunity to have a political go, to make a straight political attack. We heard no information at all about YANACT's view, other youth centres' views or the kids' views. They have no idea at all. They have done no work at all on that, Mr Speaker. The fact is that the department has and it believes that over the next 12 months we can put together a more integrated service, at both Civic and Woden, that may just reflect the needs of the kids better. Wow, what a surprise!

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