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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 May 2009) . . Page.. 1961 ..

and employees are well placed to take advantage of the new opportunities to support long-term productivity growth.

As identified by the Prime Minister, it is the young people who face the greatest risk of temporary or, worse still, long-term unemployment. Unless this is addressed, we as a nation and a community could face the prospect of a lost generation, a generation which is unskilled, a generation stuck on dole queues for so long that they become unemployable.

On 30 April this year, COAG agreed to the jobs, training and youth transitions initiative. This initiative is a series of education and training measures to maximise youth participation. It seeks to engage and retain young people in training. We want to ensure that they gain recognised qualifications. So, firstly, COAG agreed to a compact with young Australians to ensure that every single young person is able to access an education or training place.

Secondly, COAG agreed to a national youth participation requirement to make participation in training, education or employment compulsory for all young people until they reach the age of 17. And, thirdly, COAG agreed to bring forward its 90 per cent year 12 or equivalent attainment rate target from 2020 to 2015.

Through the youth compact, 15 to 19-year-olds in the ACT will be entitled to an education or training place for any government-subsidised qualification. Young people aged between 20 and 24 will also be entitled to an education or training place for any government-subsidised qualification which would result in an individual attaining a higher qualification. This means that, subject to course availability, our young people aged from 15 to 24 have guaranteed access to training courses that will further their employment prospects and life choices.

The ACT is undertaking urgent work on this issue and will establish an implementation committee to be chaired by the Department of Education and Training. This is to ensure the youth compact will be fully implemented by 1 July 2009 for 15 to 19-year-olds and by 1 January 2010 for the 20 to 24-year-olds. An initial meeting of this committee is expected to be held in the next few weeks with representatives from key ACT stakeholders and it will include government and non-government school sectors, the training sector and industry.

With two sons in trades—one starting an apprenticeship and one finishing one next month—I understand the importance of providing local training facilities for Canberra’s youth, which is why I have put the call out for the Urambi school site to be considered as a trades training centre for Tuggeranong. The initial feedback I have received so far from local residents and businesses has been very supportive of the idea, and I look forward to the outcomes of the community consultative process later in this year and the opportunities for enhanced choices for the Tuggeranong area.

The second measure undertaken by COAG to address the training requirements of young people is the national participation requirement. This COAG initiative on a national participation age aligns with the findings of an ACT community consultation process that shows strong support for making it compulsory for students to be either at

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