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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2766 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

participation and social sustainability, most particularly where it affects our most valuable asset, our children, and their futures.

Minister, I understand that, for the first time in the territory's history, a comprehensive children's plan is being developed and that the consultation phase for the development of the plan was launched last week. Minister, you have invited input from children. How is this to occur and is the seeking of the views of children on issues affecting their future and their aspirations also a first?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Hargreaves for his question. Yes, this certainly is a very exciting piece of work on which the government has taken the lead. It is the first time that Canberra will have a children's plan. I think that it is about time that we had one and about time that we recognised that children in Canberra deserve to be involved in the development of that plan.

Last week, I was joined at the launch by members of the Assembly-certainly Mr Corbell, Mrs Burke and Ms Tucker were there to share the occasion. The function was primarily to launch the children's consultation strategy, which is made up of a few other strategies to make sure that we get as many children as want to participate.

In the first stage, I have sent a letter to all children in the years 3 to 6 across all ACT primary schools asking them for their ideas about how to make Canberra a better place for them, what they like about Canberra, what is good about being a child in Canberra, what is not so good about being a child in Canberra, and what is important to them. Last week, 19,500 letters were distributed amongst government and non-government schools. We have the cooperation of non-government schools and they have agreed to distribute the letter as well.

The children can fill out a response form or they can visit the website which is also identified on the brochure. We have also set up an email address at which children can email I will be responding to the emails that children send.

The first stage of the community consultation process will take the form of sending out the draft discussion paper. It is quite a detailed document so we also have a condensed version as a pamphlet. There will be public meetings and focus groups, so there will be various ways in which people can be involved. We are hoping to have all this finished by the end of the year so that we can launch the ACT children's plan early next year.


MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question through you is to the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope. Chief Minister, on several occasions over the past few weeks you have accused the community of being complacent in regards to the bushfire threat. Last year your government ignored Liberal calls on behalf of the community for extra bushfire education and you failed to implement your own recommendations from 2001. Is it not the case that it was your government's culture of complacency and do nothing attitude that let the people of Canberra down?

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