Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 186 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
identified a clear need for a centralised information system to provide contact and information about other service providers-to increase accessibility and coordination of crisis services.
I have included a reference to the longer-term accommodation of youth because this is one of the recurring themes of the crisis sector-for all ages. If there is nowhere else for people to go, nowhere to move onto, then those places will not be available for the next people in crisis. Dr Jane Stanley estimated in 1999 that there was a need for around 1,250 bed spaces for young people in crisis but noted that this would be reduced if adequate medium to long-term accommodation were supplied.
For young people the government is the greatest provider of accommodation, partly due to barriers to private rental: prejudice against young people and their lack of rental history or access to an upfront bond, and so on. Therefore, while actually providing enough beds is an issue, the government also has responsibility for increasing "exit options" and preventing the bed issue by providing the right kind of public housing in the right locations.
I am looking forward to seeing this government reverse the previous government's trend away from a public housing system towards a system that caters only for the most needy of the needy. That will help too. Young people should not have to be actually homeless to find their way into housing.
The youth housing task force reported in April 2000-a comprehensive effort to coordinate action. What has happened since? The new boarding house, currently being refurbished in Ainslie, fulfils one of the recommendations of the task group. There are the youth housing outreach workers in Centrelink and three new community development workers. The youth housing task group met to continue to oversee action, and a number of the recommendations have been carried out. I understand that the task group has met a few times earlier this year but not much recently.
Also, within the last 12 months or so, there has been a review of youth SAAP services, which has led to a series of meetings between providers and associated services. I understand another report on YSAAP is under way, by the sector and consultants, which will lead to an updated needs analysis.
More broadly, I understand that there will soon be consultation on a youth servicing strategy-what services are needed and where, where the gaps are and what the forward projection is for need. These processes are all essential, and it would be very useful at the start of this new term of the Assembly to check how they are all going and to ensure that the government is aware of the linkages between these different processes. So my amendment basically says: lets look at the issues quickly-May is a fairly short reporting time frame, given that we are about to go into the Christmas period-and let's address the needs. But let's do that by following up on the work that is already under way or completed, which indicates priorities and strategies for action according to the people in the youth services sector.
MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (5.31): Mr Speaker, I have been asked to curtail my remarks to fit the timetable of other people. I will do that and hold something back that I was going to raise during the adjournment debate.