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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1300 ..

MS MacDONALD (8.45), in reply: I thank members for their support in this debate. I would like to acknowledge that Ms Dundas ran the National Boardshorts Day fundraiser last week for Here for Life. I have to say that I do not own a pair of board shorts, so I did not wear any, but it was rather cold on Friday and I noted that Ms Dundas did end up changing into something a bit warmer in the afternoon. I applaud Here for Life for having run something a little bit different to raise awareness of the issues that they are promoting.

I acknowledge all those organisations in our community and across the country who support young people for all the work they do. I mention in closing that, as part of Youth Week, the Lanyon Youth Centre will be holding an open day this coming Saturday. For anybody who has not seen Lanyon Youth Centre, it is an excellent facility. I understand that some of the other youth centres throughout the ACT are looking towards modelling their own youth centres on it a bit more because it is very participative, it is in a good location and it has been set up in a great way.

I have talked a little about young people contributing to their own future through getting involved politically. I would like to acknowledge, in closing, the work of organisations such as Young Labor, of which I was a member not that long ago in comparison with some, but it seems like a lengthy time now for me, although I acknowledge that I am one of the younger members of this place. I believe that organisations such as Young Labor do a good job in terms of promoting discussion and debate on political issues. The debate can often be fiery, but sometimes it can be less so. It is hard to imagine how I ever got impassioned about some of the issues that we debated when I spent my time in Young Labor, but it was a great training ground for me in terms of getting me involved politically. I was already politically interested. I know that it has led to greater things for other people.

As well as having organisations round the country that do good work for those young people who are not as well off, such as Cyclops, which I have already mentioned, I think it is important that we be here to encourage all young people, whatever their backgrounds, and say to them that they should become involved in politics because it is part of life and it is a way of making a difference to society. That was by way of digression a little.

I thank members for having risen and spoken about the different issues. I acknowledge what Mr Pratt was saying about vocational education and training, although I am not sold on the idea of taking VET down to the junior years of high school. I do think there is possibly some way to go in terms of VET preparation for those younger years. I do not necessarily agree that we should be taking our students through certificate 1 courses at that stage. I think that should be done in the college years.

There are, of course, preparation courses. I have said in this place before that we need to be showing young people that university is not the be-all and end-all and vocational education and training provides an alternative pathway for many people, with millions of people participating on a yearly basis around the country, not just our youth.

I commend the motion and again thank members for their support.

Motion agreed to.

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