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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3078 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

That brings me to family services and how they support families. I think they also need to be given a good shake-up. An Assembly committee is looking at some of these issues, and I look forward to seeing their work. I look forward to this government, hopefully, picking up this area more strongly for the next budget.

Youth has suffered from the rearrangement of agencies and responsibilities. This area has been fragmented a lot. I wait to see how this can be dealt with. I do not think it is impossible, but a strong interagency linkage needs to be set up to address the fragmented and therefore negative impact on youth services.

The relationship between education and youth has to be mentioned in this discussion. The minister has spoken on occasions about money being spent inside the school gate. I have raised concerns about not very expensive services outside the school gate not being funded this year. They particularly important services for kids at risk. They include the Gungahlin Youth Centre's collaborative education project with Gold Creek school and Kaleen High, and the counselling support for the Tuggeranong Art Centre's very successful Messengers program.

Messengers uses theatre and creative work to deal with kids issues, which is fantastic. But when disclosures are made during that process there is not a place to refer the young people to. That is unacceptable. It would not involve a huge amount of money. That does not show an understanding of the need to follow through on programs. You can make young people more vulnerable if you give them the opportunity to be supported when the follow-on is not available.

I am pleased that the Labor government has supported our position leading up to the last election that the free school bus money should go to education and that there is a major need to look at how we deal with kids at risk. We have seen a number of responses from the government, including their documents on "Within reach of us all", which in broad terms contains good statements. However, I still feel disappointed when I do not see more specific targets, time lines and detail in these sorts of documents.

It is good to say that you will do things such as support schools to embed a culture of inclusivity and safety for students, but we need a much more detailed description of how that will occur and how it will be monitored. The health committee has a long way to go in looking just at the health of school-age children. The discussion we have had with a number of students and teachers from colleges and high schools in the last week shows that students who are different in any way are likely to suffer and be targeted in the school population. I know we cannot change the world in the school, but we are saying in these documents that we want to try. That is great, but we have to be accountable about how we do it and what works. It is not easy to change habits and attitudes, most of which have probably come from home. So we need to trial innovative approaches to these problems and be clear about what works and what does not work.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.


: I will take my second 10 minutes. A philosophy of inclusivity is great, but it can translate into mainstreaming, and that does not necessarily deliver diversity. In fact, it can deliver the opposite. In the name of inclusivity and mainstreaming, you can end up with one size having to fit all, and it does not. Teachers in our public school

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