Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3633 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

new grants and scholarships are designed for young people to apply for small sums of money to look at research and proposals which facilitate and support young people's involvement in youth policy development.

We are also expanding the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year award to include two new categories which acknowledge a group achievement. That followed from a group of young men this year getting special recognition for the work they did around the bushfires. We have decided to keep that award going-and an encouragement award for young people under the age of 18.

The government is committed to working with young people to develop our youth policy and achieve positive outcomes. That is why I am happy to consider Mrs Cross's motion-as long as we take advice from young people themselves. The avenue I obtain a lot of advice from is the minister's youth council. The government is happy to support the motion, with the amendments I have circulated.

MS DUNDAS (4.19): I am speaking to both the amendment and the substantive motion. I thank Mrs Cross for bringing this debate in front of the Assembly today. I think the amendments moved by Ms Gallagher are important. We must ensure that we are speaking with young people about how they think this should work and how it should be applied.

When researching this, I was struck by the similarity to a program that I participated in when I was at high school here in the ACT. A contract was developed by a community organisation. It was discussed between us and our parents as to what would happen if we were using drugs and alcohol; that they would collect us if something was going wrong; that we would have a discussion about the issue the next day; and that we would deal with the important focus of keeping everybody safe, at that point in time.

I was interested to see this motion on the notice paper. I thought this was already happening in ACT schools, but it appears that the schools were running it on a case-by-case basis. The schools which had found out about the program, and wanted to run it, were introducing it into their curricula.

It was not necessarily being done in a well-coordinated way, so there was no research being done on it. That is why we are talking about a trial here today. The ACT government can monitor how that is going and have it working in all ACT schools. I know the program worked in certain instances. I clearly remember a situation where one of my friends made a call for their parents to come out and help, and it worked.

This is a program which has merit. It is about encouraging young people to talk with their parents and guardians. I admit it does not work for all, so it should not be compulsory. Nevertheless, I know, from personal experience, that it can make a difference. Being a young person is not easy-and neither is being a parent of a young person. Quite often, there are difficulties in communicating about going out, attending parties, drinking and drugs.

If young people are continually getting into trouble for doing these kinds of things, they will simply stop telling their parents that they are doing them. That means that these

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .