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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1044 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

In conclusion, this is a good opportunity to talk about the sorts of issues people are covering. I look forward to the two committee inquiries that were announced today. My Health Committee and Mr Hargreaves' committee will be looking at issues related to young people in our community. They will give us an opportunity to improve how we deal with these issues in this place.

MR PRATT (4.56): Mr Speaker, I rise as shadow education minister and as a proud father to support and congratulate Ms Dundas on this MPI on youth and National Youth Week. There is no doubt-I suppose it is something of a motherhood statement-that our youth are our most important asset. Consequently, it is my view that the majority of our resources as a community should focus on creating the conditions for our youth to develop-schooling and level playing fields.

Focusing on children at risk and children with disabilities is now as important as pursuing the objectives of excellence.

It is our responsibility as a community to ensure that our schools and communities are safe, imaginative places for our youth to thrive so they can exercise their imagination and get a chance to contribute to the community in energetic and positive ways as we silly old buggers perhaps do not as much as we used to.

I have had the good fortune in the last 21/2 years since returning from overseas to address a large number of school classes and a large number of youth associations both here and outside the ACT. I have had the good fortune and the good fun to get involved in discussing international affairs and community issues with the likes of the mini-United Nations, a collection of high school children. I have enjoyed very much plunging into robust debates with young folk. They can tell us and teach us a lot about the values that our communities ought to be developing. These are very important occasions we must always foster.

Somebody mentioned Neil Pharaoh. A couple of days ago, in a business forum that my party organised, I met Neil Pharaoh, the president of the youth forum. He played a very important role in the debates we had about where this community ought to be going. That was a good example of youth in action and was nice to see in National Youth Week. It was a shining example of the contribution youth can make.

I congratulate our youth in this week and hope that as a community we will continue to create the environment in which they can continue to perform their refreshing and positive roles.

MR CORBELL (Minister or Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.59): Mr Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak today on this matter of public importance on the role of young people in our community and as Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services to publicly acknowledge the contribution they make to Canberra.

At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

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