Page 2935 - Week 09 - Thursday, 18 August 2005

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a discussion of a matter, or vote on a question, in a meeting of the Assembly where the matter or question relates directly or indirectly to that contract.

I am sure it is already well known to members but I am formally informing you that, in relation the debate we have just had, I have a residential tenancy agreement with Housing ACT, which is an agency of the ACT government.

I was very pleased to see on the front page of the Northside Chronicle that the Gungahlin Community Council has welcomed the opportunity to have the new $40 million youth detention centre—Quamby mark 2 or mark 3—in their area. I want to comment on that because it is a pleasing change from the response we often get in relation to facilities involving treatment for drug users, jails or detention centres. In this case, it is a youth detention centre and the community is opening its arms and saying, “Build it here”.

It is quite clear that, in having Quamby mark 2 or mark 3 in the area, the council sees the potential for work, for visitors, for more movement in the area and for growth in its town. On the other hand, it is also an understanding, I think, that such institutions should not be isolated, should not be separated from normal human concourse, and that the people at the centre will be managed in such a way that other people have nothing to fear from having it in their area. I commend the Gungahlin Community Council for being so upfront in welcoming a new youth detention centre. I can give no opinion as to where that youth detention centre should go but I am very pleased that there are people who would welcome it in their area. I hope other areas follow suit so that we have a real choice about the best place to site it.

Lanyon high school—youth drop-in centre

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (5.15): Mr Speaker, it was my great pleasure, on behalf of the Minister for Education, to officially open last Thursday, 11 August, the Lanyon high school’s new youth drop-in centre, aptly named the Hub. Students are now able to meet with the school’s youth support worker, Kylie Whitehill, in a relaxed and casual environment. It will open every lunchtime and operate a breakfast club two mornings a week. I understand that it will also open during morning tea break. The breakfast club has been made possible by the kind donation, I think from a staff member, of an old fridge in which they can store the milk.

The aim of the drop-in centre is to support students in a proactive way rather than a reactive way. A mixture of programs is currently running at the centre and these provide students with support and advice on managing and coping with a variety of situations. These programs include small groups for year 7 girls to discuss friendship issues, the building on your best program for boys in year 7 and year 8 who experience difficulty managing their aggression, and groups for year 10 girls to discuss issues such as safe relationships and safe partying. The students benefit greatly from these worthwhile and valuable programs.

The Hub also contains valuable information for students to read at their discretion on a variety of issues relevant to today’s youth. Importantly, the Hub provides students with not only a safe and supportive environment but also an entertaining one. It has a pool table, chess table, couches and a fridge, and students are encouraged to drop by and enjoy these amenities.

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