Page 1184 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 9 April 2008

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the scouts organise, because they are keeping alive a kind of youth culture that is harder and harder to find in an increasingly consumerised world where young people are seen more as consumers than as actors in their own fate.

I also want to pay tribute to all the foster parents and all the organisations who work with our kids who are at risk—kids who are in child protection or young people who are being supported while in their families—to the youth refuges, to the youth centres and, of course, to the youth coalition, which represents those interests as a peak body in the ACT. The work of these people is often unrelenting and unrewarded, so let us pay tribute to them in Youth Week—not to mention the teachers, the childcare workers and the church organisations that also play a major part in providing activities to young people. Youth Week has been national since 2000.

The main thing to realise is that most of these events have been organised by young people themselves. So congratulations to them on that. I just hope that the events are being as well attended as was the Youth InterACT Conference, which I went to briefly on Friday morning. I know Ms Porter and Ms Gallagher were there. There were such a large number of young people there. My daughter attended one of those conferences about eight years ago, and the numbers have certainly increased enormously. So that was a pretty good beginning, I thought, to Youth Week. I will be very interested to see the report that comes out of that conference and how much it informs what the government does with its policies, how it agrees with the issues that are raised and how it addresses them.

The Youth Advisory Council has been revamped and I would like to acknowledge the work that it did in organising the InterACT Conference. I am hoping, too, that Ms Gallagher feels that she has a more representative organisation there and that she can feel more confidence that the advice it gives does represent the gamut of young people, because I believe that was her concern before it was re-looked at, with new appointments made.

On Friday there will be the Canberra young citizen of the year awards. It will be interesting to see who is recognised in our community. I hope it will give an incentive for our young people to get out there and put their hands up. It is not always easy to do this when you are a young person and are more worried about what your peers think than anything else, so, when people do put their hands up and do things, that needs to be rewarded. I will be very interested to see what the grants and scholarships that Ms Porter mentioned in her motion might actually boil down to.

The ACT government has a pretty good consultative process with young people, but what we find is that the consultation on issues concerning children and young people differs depending on the issue and which area of government you are dealing with. The Minister for Children and Young People may have an excellent consultative process for young people but, because the work of every department impacts on young people, we would like to see that filtering through into every department. For instance, the way municipal services are delivered impacts on young people. The way the bus network is set up impacts on young people. We need to make sure that all those processes have a way of including young people—that there is consultation in the first place, because we have lost that in some instances, and second, that a particular feature is made of involving young people.

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