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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 173 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

community in that they are not able to vote. They are not able to participate in that more formal process in which we engage citizens over the age of 18. The Ministerial Youth Advisory Council performs a very important role. We have seen over the past three years an increasingly defunct Ministerial Youth Advisory Council. It has been put to me by one of the members of that council that it is a very tokenistic body - a body that does not seriously work as a consultative mechanism between young people in the community and the Government in its policy approaches. It has been put to me that the bulk of people on that council are not the sort of young people who face the problems that other young people in the community do; that the bulk of that council is made up of young people who are at university and who are already well developed in their social skills, their communication skills and their development in the community. I ask for a short extension of time.

Mr Humphries: No. I am sorry, but extensions of time are not granted in MPIs.

(Extension of time not granted)

MR CORBELL: I am sorry; I accept Mr Humphries' point. This range of issues does need to be addressed and, clearly, we have not seen the Government do it.

MS TUCKER (5.03): I will refer briefly to the committee inquiries that we had in the last Assembly - the mental health inquiry, the services for children at risk inquiry, the violence in schools inquiry, and the SWOW inquiry. Those four inquiries basically identified a number of areas where there is unmet need in terms of support for young people.

I acknowledge that the Government does have some services on the ground, obviously. Some of the services that Mr Stefaniak referred to are working well, and there are good people in the community sector working on a number of issues. However, I also share the concerns of the Labor Party in terms of how adequately needs are being met in Canberra. All the reports that I just mentioned emphasise the importance of intervention and prevention and recognise the complexity of problems faced by an increasing number of our young people and the critical importance of recognising the role of the family or a consistent, trustworthy and caring adult in the life of a young person. We know that if children do not get this support it is unlikely that they will grow up feeling okay about themselves, and feeling okay about themselves is probably one of the most important factors in whether or not young people grow up to be constructive and participating citizens.

Apart from the influences of personal relationships, there is growing evidence that many young people do not feel positive about the world they live in, that they feel alienated and marginalised by mainstream society, and that the society is materialistic and superficial, without meaning, and exclusive in its nature. The social, economic and cultural environment has to be considered in this discussion, not just the crisis management which is becoming more and more necessary. The suicide strategy is useful. The drug strategy will be useful. But we must also be clear that unless we have responsive, on the ground,

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