Page 1202 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2009

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MR BARR: Oh, no.

Ms Gallagher: Throwing good money after bad.

MR BARR: Indeed. Again, when they were given the opportunity to go to the people, and they did in the 2008 election, with a policy in this area, there was not one cent of additional funding commitment from the Liberal Party for special education in the public sector. I remind members that the public sector educates the vast majority of students with special needs. Far and away, students with special needs are educated in the public system. That is why we are reviewing special education provision with a particular focus on curriculum and pedagogy.

Multicultural Youth Services

MS BRESNAN: My question is for the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and is in regard to the Multicultural Youth Services. It is my understanding that current funding for the award-winning youth multicultural service will end on 20 June 2009, with no assurances past this date, despite the incredibly high demand this service experiences. What commitment does the ACT government have to continuing to fund the Multicultural Youth Services?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. I am not aware of any change in the funding arrangements for the Multicultural Youth Services. I can say this: a lot of the initiatives that this government has actually delivered over the last four years have been in partnership with various sectors of the multicultural community and it is significant that one of the outcomes from the 2005 multicultural summit was the need for us, as a community, to engage with the younger people and ask them what it is they feel is necessary to go forward in this multicultural community.

This government actually funded a multicultural youth summit in itself. The agency—and we will call it that for a minute—that actually provided the foundation on which that particular summit was mounted and provided the support and direction for it was the Multicultural Youth Services. They were able to marshal the forces. They were able to bring the young people together. They were able to come up with a strategy to go forward. They were able to articulate, from the information given to them in that summit, the way forward that the young people in the multicultural community wanted to go.

An example of that and of the value of the Multicultural Youth Services, which I hold particularly highly, was that they identified a need for us to have a better conversation with the police on their attitude when it came to patrolling the city, Manuka, Kingston, Dickson and various other places. The young people said, “When you come across a bunch of really dark-haired young people who might be a little bit olive in complexion in a bunch of blokes”—hitherto there had been an attitude that this was a gang waiting to have some sort of a rumble; such was not the case necessarily; it is quite possible that they were just a bunch of young people out enjoying each other’s company—“there needs to be an attitudinal change in the police.” The result that

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