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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1041 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

I do not know about youth wages. It is a vexed issue. I can recall doing some work on it in the late 1980s and talking to a number of young people. Youth wages enable a lot of young people to get a start in a job which then leads to better wages. Without youth wages they might not be able to get that start. There are a number of issues. To blanketly get rid of youth wages may not ultimately assist young people. A reference saying that you worked for McDonald's is one of the best ways for a young person to get a job somewhere else because of the training and discipline involved there.

Ms Dundas mentioned the move-on laws we have in the territory. When we had a committee inquiry in 1989 into the desirability of those laws, evidence was produced that they benefited a number of young people. It is young people who get out and congregate, who go to night spots, who stay out at night and who party on and who sometimes can be threatened. Laws like that often benefit young people. A survey the Canberra Times did showed some 58 per cent of young people between 18 and 25 supported the laws because of the protection they offered law-abiding young people. Those laws have been back now without any dramas for probably four or five years. I think Mr Osborne reintroduced them. Looking at the positives and not wanting to criticise other speakers' comments, I merely make those points.

It is important to have a debate like this as a matter of public importance during National Youth Week. It is important to recognise the magnificent contribution young people have made to Australia over many years and specifically here in Canberra. It is important to thank and congratulate the many impressive young people all of us come across in our daily lives in this place, knowing full well that more young people will be coming forward to do equally impressive things in the years to come. It is particularly important in National Youth Week to recognise that fact and the wonderful contribution so many young people make and will continue to make to our society, enriching it as a result.

I join with other members in the celebration of National Youth Week and in thanking young people in the ACT for their continued contribution to our great society.

MS TUCKER (4.48): Young people come in all shapes and sizes, starting off small of course. We come blessed with different possibilities and gifts, and we are born or grow into all sorts of situations. As young people we face a diverse range of challenges, sometimes carrying enormous burdens, we have various and different needs and we require or deserve different degrees and forms of support and guidance. So in talking generally about the role of young people we will, by necessity, fail to acknowledge the issues that confront and are important to very many of us as individuals.

You could say the role of young people is to grow up into contributing, positive and resourceful adults, whatever that may be. As communities and as government we need to provide the support and the opportunities to maximise the chance of everybody to do that.

But childhood and youth and all the stages of our lives are not merely steps along some road.

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