Page 1684 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 April 2009
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Burch): The question now is that Ms Hunter’s motion, as amended, be agreed to.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (3.57): I thank members who contributed to the debate this afternoon. I would like to wrap up the debate by making a few points. The point that Ms Bresnan made about the Multicultural Youth Service and the important role of specialised youth services in the ACT is one that cannot be underestimated.
There is certainly a very important place for general youth services, but there is also a place for specialised youth services. We certainly hope that the plight of Multicultural Youth Services and the uncertainty about future funding will be taken into account. We sincerely hope that that issue will be addressed and that Multicultural Youth Services will be guaranteed regular ongoing funding as of 1 July after their Community Inclusion Board funding ceases.
I just want to pick up on a couple of things. One of the reasons why I could not support part of the amendment moved by Mr Barr related to the consultation process around the new young people’s plan begun in 2008. In fact, my staff had asked in a briefing with the department on 19 March where it was up to and were told that it was still with the minister and had not started.
Although I think it is great that the youth council did conduct a survey last year to identify issues and needs of young people across the territory, and that that will now be included in the development of the young people’s plan, I still stand by the information I have received that there has not been a formal public process that has begun around development of the plan that, I suppose, other people outside of the youth council have been informed about.
There are hundreds of youth services across the territory. That is why I also get a little concerned about relating to this idea that there is a very narrow sector or that somehow it is a few people who have hijacked something. I find that quite alarming because, in fact, we have hundreds of youth services.
An example of this is something like the Big Red Book, which is available online at the youth coalition website. It is a project that was participated in by so many youth services who continue to support that. We are talking about scouts; we are talking about guides; we are talking about youth centres; and we are talking about health and fitness groups. The broad gamut of groups that you could think of participated in that book. I would see that as a good starting point when developing a young people’s plan to be not only directly engaging with young people across the territory, but also to be hooking in with those who work with them and the services that work with them who also do have a role to play in putting together a new young people’s plan.
There is one other thing I would also like to touch on. I am a little concerned that the minister talked about the fact that there had been debate on the matter. He acknowledged the point about whether there would be one plan or two, and he said that he was favouring only one plan, which would be a children and young people’s plan.