Page 1579 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 April 2005

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The excellent work being done in ACT schools was also recognised in December last year when Stromlo high school received a $10,000 career education lighthouse school grant. It was one of 70 schools across Australia providing best practice in career education in secondary schools. I would like to congratulate Ms Bradford again on this exciting opportunity in her career and wish her all the best for her studies. I know students she will work with will benefit greatly from her skills and knowledge.

National Youth Week

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (6.20): I would like to draw the attention of the Assembly to the upcoming National Youth Week, which has already been mentioned by Ms Gallagher and is being held from this Saturday until Sunday, 17 April 2005. The week is being launched tomorrow morning at the Gorman House Arts Centre at 9.30. I recommend that all members show their support for the youth of the ACT by endeavouring to attend functions that are being held during the week.

One function I will be attending is the Gungahlin youth centre’s day at the Gungahlin skate park, Yerrabi Ponds, to be held on Saturday between 11 am and 3.30 pm. I am pleased to say that there will be a variety of entertainment on offer, with some of Canberra’s well-known performers—Hayley Jensen and DJ Danielson from Koolism—as well as other emerging local bands.

There will also be a barbeque, in-line skating demonstrations, jumping castles, a skateboarding contest, and the event which I am looking forward to the most—Sumo suit wrestling. I congratulate Anita O’Heir and the staff of the Gungahlin youth centre and the Gungahlin Regional Community Service for the great work they have done in organising this event and for their ongoing work with young people in this growing area of Canberra.

Young people in our society, and indeed in the Canberra community, are often looked down on or subjected to negative and critical images of them being presented through the media and other forums. National Youth Week is an important opportunity for us to celebrate the valuable contribution young people make to many different areas of our community.

Members may recall my inaugural speech in this place, when I highlighted the significant problem that youth suicide presents, particularly to young men, with rates of male suicide in the ACT about four times the rate for women—and that a young man is more likely to die as a result of suicide than in a car accident.

I think it should also be pointed out that, while rates of male suicide are much higher, I have seen recent figures showing young women presenting to hospitals with self-harm injuries. The rate of attempted suicide in women is much higher than that for men, so it is a significant issue among women. It is slightly different, but it is significant as well.

I also received figures from both Ms Gallagher’s and Mr Hargreaves’s offices relating to the number of young people thought to be subject to homelessness on any given evening in the ACT. I am told that the figure is around 30, although I understand it is pretty

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