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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 April 2008) . . Page.. 1188 ..

or, ‘She doesn’t look like she has an eating disorder’ and it wasn’t until I lost a significant amount of weight that people actually believed me,” she said.

It is a fallacy, this weight thing that people see. I have seen girls of all sizes and shapes with eating disorders. They are not necessarily skinny and thin. People with eating disorders can be well built, well framed. So I think there is a lot more that we need to talk about, a lot more that we need to know and understand. The Canberra Times article of 6 April quoted one of the young girls as saying:

“For a city this size that has so many people with eating disorders and so many people at Canberra Hospital with eating disorders all the time, we really don’t have the treatment for it.

So anything that the government can do, anything that the minister can do, to investigate further options, to save us from having to send people to the closest specialist eating disorders clinic, which is in Sydney, would be a real positive. As members will be well aware, I have sent a copy of the Worldwide Charter for Action on Eating Disorders to the federal health minister and also to Jeff Kennett at beyondblue. So I am trying my best to do what I can to help and I know that the ACT government are doing and will continue to do, I am sure, all they can.

The more that we talk about it, the more we are able to address the problem. So I want to encourage people to attend the event today called Scaling the Heights to Freedom, which is an exhibition of messages painted by sufferers. Many of you would have seen it in the Canberra Times. They have been painted onto weighing scales and it is about hope and finding a way out of a bleak and difficult mental condition. That is a National Youth Week project being held today between 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm in Civic Square. It will move on 11 April to the University of Canberra campus from 9.00 am until 12 noon and then to Woden Square from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm, and on 17 April to Youth in the City from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

I thank members very much for their continued attention. I thank Ms Porter for her motion today and for the focus that we have placed on our young people. They are our future.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (12.11): I also thank Ms Porter for moving the motion today, as it gives all in the Assembly the opportunity to talk about young people and, more broadly, to talk about Youth Week. There is a whole list of events that are going on through the city this week. They tie into Youth Week nationally, and here in the ACT we have had a lot of input from our Youth Advisory Council and also from the Youth Coalition of the ACT, who have responsibility to run many of the events of Youth Week. One of their key events is the Youth Expo, which is held in Garema Place, usually on the first Friday of Youth Week. I understand it was a big success last week.

I will take the opportunity to thank and acknowledge the efforts of the Youth Advisory Council. I have spent the last year reforming that council and trying to ensure that we have on it representation from a broad range of young Canberrans who also feel that they have real influence when it comes to government decision

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