Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1293 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
important that Government recognise the service delivery needs of young people and the fundamental role that community youth services play in the delivery of these services.
The increase in demand for services has been reported right across the community sector and this has raised issues of viability that need to be addressed through appropriate resourcing.
As such, a critical budget issue for the Youth Coalition in its submission this year is the sustainability of the community sector. The compact "acknowledges the vital role played by the community sector"and expresses the government's undertaking to "support (its) sustainability and long-term capacity"however a number of issues are impeding the viability of the sector, which are raised in the submission."
Furthermore, the increase in the number of young people with mental health issues, intellectual disabilities, drug and alcohol issues and care and protection presenting before the children courts as a result of criminal matters, and entering Quamby Youth Detention Centre (Office of the Community Advocate Annual Report 2001-02 and the Government's response to recommendations 1 and 3 of Coroner Somes' inquest into a death at Quamby) indicates a number of fundamental shortfalls in current policy and service delivery.
The role of the community sector in the provision of a range of interventions to support children and young people and their families in their "natural"communities, and identifying needs and collaborative solutions, warrants a firm commitment by the ACT Government.
The Youth Coalition believes that it is critical that the 2003-04 ACT Budget demonstrate a significant commitment to the community sector. An investment in the community sector will be a worthwhile investment for the whole community.
Tonight, I urge the government to make that commitment now. If it does not, motions such as this will cast us as hypocrites. We need to support these sorts of motions with practical policy responses as well as funding.
MRS BURKE (8.21): I am really pleased to be able to stand up tonight to support Youth Week, being a young person myself.
Members: Ha, ha!
MRS BURKE: I do not know why you are all laughing; it is true. As the saying goes, growing up is mandatory and growing old is optional, or the other way round, or something like that.
Children are our future. Do we realise and understand the awesome task and responsibility that have been placed upon us as a society? Are we really paying heed to the fact that whatever we instil into our young people now will form the platform and basis for their transition to adulthood? I believe that it is incumbent upon any government to create not only an atmosphere, but mechanisms conducive to assisting our young people into the future in a balanced and stable way.
It is very tragic that so many young people take their own lives, often in very desperate and lonely circumstances. We must do better by our younger generation. I am always