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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 995 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

Of course, I had a fair bit to do with the creation of the Lanyon Youth Centre, called Mura, and I pay tribute to Mr Stefaniak and Mr Smyth for their role in the creation of that centre. One of the big things about that centre-and this is unique in this town-is that it seeks to provide a solution before problems arise. A system of gateways, activities and educational pathways for things like suicide prevention have been created for the youth of the Lanyon Valley part of Tuggeranong before they reach an age where they could be in crisis. When the centre was created we were hoping the program would include kids aged 10. Now, a couple of years later, my information is that the centre has been a roaring success. I believe that they are having more demand than they can cope with, which in fact is a good sign.

I believe that the centre is conducted in such a way that it empowers young people with knowledge, education, contacts and networks. As a result, kids who are thinking about using drugs are headed off by their peers. Those people who are talking about suicide, as a lot of teenagers do because of either family dysfunction or their own lack of self-esteem, will be prevented from doing so because of the opportunity that that centre provides.

The inquiry will be very wide ranging, and the committee accepts that. I have not proposed a conclusion date for the inquiry, but off the top of my head I would suggest that it would be concluded in the second half of this calendar year. Mr Speaker, I commend the inquiry to the Assembly. I advise the Assembly that we have self-referred the inquiry. I also pay credit to the members of the committee, Ms Dundas and Mrs Cross for readily accepting the reference. I also pay credit to Ms Dundas for putting a lot of the beef on the bones of what it is we want to look into.

MS DUNDAS: I seek leave to also speak on this matter.

Leave granted.

MS DUNDAS: I believe that this inquiry is an important one and I am thankful that the committee has decided to take it on. I am very excited about this area. As this Assembly would know, since I have taken up my role in this chamber I have focused on the issue of the rights of young people, their interests and wellbeing.

This inquiry will allow and encourage great input from the community and young people. As the Youth Coalition (ACT) say in their policy platform, the needs and interests of young people must be reflected in all relevant government policy. Young people are a diverse population within the community who have a variety of changing needs, and hence government policy must be accountable to the community and should involve thorough meaningful community consultation. I believe that this inquiry will allow us to focus on the diverse population that is young people and allow them to contribute to the development of recommendations that will affect them and give them the opportunity to have input.

This inquiry, with its focus on the development of laws and young people's role in that, the rights of young people, justice, care and protection, will allow us to discover any problems that may exist in those areas. The Gallop inquiry occurred following three tragic deaths in the disability sector, and I do not want the death of a child to spark

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