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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2042 ..

My determination to focus more on the grandparenting thing is real. We need to do more because I think there is a rising cohort of people, my age and younger, who are now living with the reality of bringing up their grandchildren.

I reiterate the wonderful work that Marymead does and thank the ACT government for their support of people like Marymead. The grandparenting support group is a good start but I think there is much more that we do need to look at. Often, grandparents are obviously at that stage of their life where they are coming into retirement and do not necessarily have a great deal of money. I know two particular grandparents who had got their lives established and, through no fault of theirs, are now raising two young children and are finding it very difficult.

We need to look at the social impacts and we need to look at ways in which we get people off drugs and not condition them to the fact that, in the community, people take drugs; therefore, it is fine. I think this report goes a long way towards pointing out the ways forward. But I think we always need to be sure that, wherever we can, we help and assist people to get off drugs and get onto a better lifestyle.

I have written here that we need to look at either medical help or lifestyle changes. We all make choices in life. I agree with Dr Foskey that there are people who get to a point in their life where they—and this would annoy people who are probably listening now—feel that the only option is to take drugs. We need to be looking at why that is the case.

If society is allowing those people to fall so far through the cracks that they feel that is the only option then that is a sad place. So we need to be capturing people young; hence the report does talk about intervention for young people. But we need to really be exercising with great care that we are not sending the wrong message but obviously are not not saying anything. It is somewhat of a double-edged sword.

I will leave it there. I am sure that the chair will wrap up there. I again urge and encourage members to read the report and let us have any feedback you see as being appropriate.

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (11.37), in reply: I would like to begin by thanking Dr Foskey, Ms Porter and Mrs Burke for their comments on this report. Dr Foskey is correct. It is a very useful and educational report and certainly, as the chair of the committee and as a member of the committee, I found inquiring into this subject very illuminating and useful.

I would say that the one thing that this report raised for me, in a lot of ways, is my own naivety when it comes to a lot of areas and—I would not say “despair”—my dismay at people taking up and using drugs like ice. I can understand intellectually why people who are working in an industry such as truck driving or the hospitality industry, where they do have long hours, which Dr Foskey and others have talked about this morning, might actually take up a methamphetamine-type substance in order to help them get through their very long shifts. They do have long hours; they are burning the candle at both ends. How do you keep going?

Ms Porter: Like politicians.

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