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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 347 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

useful contacts, including mental health services, counselling services and mediation services. The technological and economic changes over the past few decades have had negative impacts on some regional and rural communities. There is evidence that youth in these communities require additional access to health and related services. "ymag" has articles about things such as why parents split up and what is the impact of that, schizophrenia, and how guys look at their health in different ways to girls.

Michael Tunn, a Triple J announcer, who started announcing when he was only 16, shares his experiences with mental illness. There is a story about heritage and values in which a person by the name of Sam shares his thoughts about being an Aboriginal. It has some basic but sensible things for older youth, such as how to drink safely, if they choose to drink, and how to deal with changes in their life. It has an article on how violence breeds more violence. It is a magazine which is written by young people very much for young people. I think, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, it hits the spot. I table that magazine.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hird): It is a good reference document.

MR STEFANIAK: It is a very good reference document for young people. The Territory is working in partnership, naturally enough, with New South Wales in improving mental health services for youth in rural and regional settings, certainly in the south-east of New South Wales. The regional and rural youth suicide prevention project will examine the pathways used by young people from south-east New South Wales in accessing local and ACT services and recommend changes to improve those pathways.

The report of the research phase, which is due in April, will be used to improve services, processes and referrals. That project concludes in November this year.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I commend the strategy to the Assembly. This Government is very concerned about youth suicide. Ideally, we would like to eliminate it altogether. Sadly, that is a very big task indeed. The portfolios of Education, Children's, Youth and Family Services and Health are working very hard towards coordinating and focusing their resources in the most effective way possible. This strategy, while it might not be perfect, certainly goes a long way towards achieving the best possible outcomes for young people in the ACT.

MR BERRY (4.23): Any attempt to deal with youth suicide is commendable. Governments the world over are having difficulty dealing with this problem. No effort will be large enough, because the complexities of youth suicide are quite broad and require answers which we do not yet have. On skimming through this document, I see a range of needs, especially under "Future needs", which go to this issue in some detail. I was just trying to find some mention of the provision of jobs and standing for young people in the community as a result of the provision of jobs.

One of the biggest problems for our young people is unemployment. Unemployment in the ACT affects, on average, quite a lot more than 30 per cent, and that is a tragedy for a wealthy community in the Australian context. ACT average incomes are higher than those in the rest of the country, yet we have a society which delivers us over 30 per cent youth unemployment. Whatever you think about the figures, the youth unemployment

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