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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2685 ..

MR WOOD: Yes, indeed, if it is money owing it should be done that way.

Youth InterACT

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for youth, Mr Corbell. The budget contains funding of $160,000 for Youth InterACT, a new youth strategy designed to allow a group of 15 youths to have a chat with you, the minister, every couple of months. This group is a rebadging of the youth ministerial advisory council established by the former Liberal government that you scrapped.

A key difference between the two bodies is that the members of Youth InterACT will be paid $30 each time they meet you. In fact, the chair and deputy chair receive $50 per meeting. How can you justify this approach when the peak youth body, the Youth Coalition of the ACT, is no longer on your youth council, and there are other urgent priorities in the youth sector?

MR CORBELL: How wrong you can be, Mrs Cross. The reason we have a new ministers youth council is that the previous advisory body asked for one. That is why we are doing it. The young people on the previous advisory body themselves said that it was redundant, said that it was no longer working, and said it needed to be more representative. It was as a result of their proposal that we now have the new ministers youth council.

Let me add some additional comments. What is wrong with paying young people to participate on an advisory body? We pay adults to participate in a range of government advisory bodies and other bodies. There is no reason why we should not pay young people to attend, let's recognise that. Young people are not different in that regard, Mr Speaker. This is not just about having a chat with the minister. If Mrs Cross had actually bothered to ask any questions about this in the Estimates Committee process, she would have learned exactly what this full proposal is about.

However, I do not recall a question from Mrs Cross about the Youth InterACT initiative. Yes, the government is establishing a new ministers youth council, and a total of 21 young people, ranging in age from 12 to 25, are shortly to be appointed. The government had over 70 expressions of interest about joining this body. That is a very strong response from young people in the ACT.

Youth InterACT, though, is more than just the ministers youth council, and this is where Mrs Cross should go back and do some homework. First of all, Youth InterACT will also include an annual youth conference. The first one is scheduled for 18 and 19 October this year, and will involve approximately 100 young people talking about the issues that affect them in Canberra. It is part of the budget funding, Mrs Cross.

In addition, there will be four youth forums arising out of that youth conference to talk in more detail about the issues raised by the young people.

Mrs Dunne: It is just cash for comment, Simon.

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