Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 994 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank my fellow members on the committee for the work that we were able to achieve. In particular, I would like to thank Patrick McCormack for the work that he did. As we all would know, Patrick is new to the Assembly. He has also picked up the secretaryship of the estimates committee, and I think he has done a splendid job in getting us to the position where we are today. I commend the report to the Assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Community Services and Social Equity-Standing Committee
Statement by chair
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement regarding an new inquiry to be undertaken by the community services and social equity committee.
MR HARGREAVES: I thank members. Mr Speaker, at its meeting on 4 April 2002 the Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity resolved to conduct an inquiry into the rights, interests and wellbeing of children and young people in the ACT. The terms of reference are as follows:
Inquire into and report on the rights, interests and well-being of children and young people in the ACT with particular reference to:
. children's and young people's understanding of the law and their rights;
. the promotion and protection of the rights, interests and well-being of children and young people in the ACT;
. the participation of and consultation with children and young people in the development of laws, policy and practices that have the potential to impact on them;
. the role and impact of the care and protection system on children and young people;
. the role and impact of the administration of justice for children and young people; and
. any other related matter of Family and youth services.
Mr Speaker, it is the hope of the standing committee that the information gleaned from such an inquiry will be of assistance to the government in addressing a potential issue regarding young people in the ACT. For the sake of brevity, I use the term "young people" for the purpose of this speech to include children as well.
We want to look into the possibility that young people are not being considered as relevant elements of a system that purports to act in their interests-to provide them with care and protection at law. We often hear about issues to do with foster care problems and children being placed in care because of family disintegration. People have been fronting the law when possibly they should not have to. For as long as Mr Smyth and I have been in this place, we have been talking about the good bits and the bad bits of Quamby. I think it is timely that we had an inquiry and got the people connected with that sector to come and tell us exactly what their thoughts are.