Page 276 - Week 01 - Thursday, 17 February 2011

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the topic of sexualisation of children in the media. This curriculum is a good basis for schools discussing how media might at times be sending the wrong messages to young people.

The final two recommendations that have been asked for by the Assembly are to request the Youth Advisory Council to be involved in talking to young people and that the children’s commissioner be asked to work on the issue. I have written to the Youth Advisory Council and asked them to consider running a forum for high school aged students in the ACT about a positive body image campaign. The forum will be based on work already done by the national advisory group on body image, which has developed a voluntary industry code of conduct on body image. In my original letter it was hoped to have this session in the next month or so. However, Youth Week is fast approaching and some consideration is being given to having the forum after that event.

As the Assembly is aware, the Children and Young People Commissioner has a number of roles, including consulting with children and young people, resolving complaints and concerns about services for children and young people, and providing advice to the government and community organisations on how to improve services for children and young people. He is currently somewhat occupied with the review at Bimberi, but I will be discussing the matter with him at the next opportunity.

In addition to these issues, I continue to be concerned about young people’s use of social networking sites and their potential exposure to risk from predators and cyberbullying. Acknowledging that the control of legislation which impacts on these sites is in the federal arena, I have written to Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, asking him to approach the major networking sites in Australia, such as Facebook, to set up a panic button, similar to the one used in England, which children and young people access online.

Raising awareness, encouraging critical thinking about this issue and promoting standards that support positive body image messages will help to combat the detrimental impact of sexualisation of children and young people in the media. A national effort is needed to achieve significant outcomes in this area, but it is hoped that these steps the government has put in motion will contribute to improving the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in the ACT. I am happy to report back to the Assembly on the progress of these actions at a later point this year.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens), by leave: In response to Minister Burch’s statement on the motion that I put forward in August last year, it is good to see that some progress has been made but I guess a critical point here is around moving forward with the development of a voluntary code of conduct for retailers. I note that many businesses have said that their head offices and so forth are outside the ACT but I do not think that should be a reason to not push forward on this important issue.

We had the Senate inquiry into this issue and that committee presented its report titled Sexualisation of children in the contemporary media environment in June 2008. Then there was a government response to that report in 2009. So it really is important that

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