Page 1519 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 April 2005

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conferences or events. These scholarships are based on encouraging young people to enhance their professional and personal development through participation in various conferences or events. I encourage MLAs to attend these events, where they can, and to support the good work being done to provide access, support, assistance and greater participation for young people in the ACT.

MR GENTLEMAN: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Can the minister inform members how the young people’s plan supports events like National Youth Week?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question. The ACT government concluded a major contribution to the youth policy area last year with the announcement of the ACT young people’s plan 2004-2008. A part of the overall strategic planning for the ACT, embracing the Canberra plan and the social plan, the ACT young people’s plan has provided a systematic breakdown of the priorities of young people in the territory and what this government is doing to address each of these issues.

The ACT government’s commitment to young people specifically looks at increasing education participation, engagement and achievements of young people, as well as improving the transition between school, further study and the work force. The plan provides a whole of government policy framework for all young people in the ACT based on four approaches: participation, access, transitions and support. These approaches are linked to the seven priorities outlined in the Canberra plan and are strongly integrated with the Canberra social plan’s goal of investing in our children and young people.

The Youth Interact initiative significantly expands participation opportunities and the number of young people able to contribute to the discussion on youth issues in the ACT. Youth InterACT is made up of a number of initiatives: the youth website, the Minister’s Youth Council, the consultation register, grants and scholarships, which I have already outlined, the Canberra Citizen of the Year awards and the annual youth conference.

The child and family centres program is a flagship initiative of Building our community: the Canberra social plan. The recent establishment of a centre in Gungahlin has proven to be very successful, with services being provided for young families and young parents. A second centre is planned to begin servicing the Tuggeranong area later this year, and I am sure the Assembly wishes it the same success as has been experienced in Gungahlin.

The Minister for Planning, Simon Corbell, recently poured the first foundations of a new youth centre located in Civic that will house a range of youth service providers. This new building will replace the Griffin Centre and will act as a hub for young people to meet and exchange ideas and opinions while also being able to seek information and advice. Consultation with young people has occurred in recognition of their desire for both a temporary and, at a later date, permanent skate park in the heart of the city. Facilities have also been secured in Narrabundah for the provision of a supported accommodation program for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males aged between 12 and 18.

These programs are an essential part of the ACT government’s work to build an active and engaged youth community throughout the year. Youth Week is our benchmark event

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