Page 1150 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2012

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Council of Social Service has said today, compulsory income management and social security payment suspension does not work. It fails the “what works” principles that I outlined earlier.

The theme for this year is “Campaigning for Indigenous health equality—power through partnership”. These messages have relevance for the Assembly here in the ACT. I hope this call is taken on board by all MLAs and by the various government and non-government service providers.

The ACT Greens want to work with and for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, the agencies, service providers and advocacy groups. We need to ensure that we do get health equality, that we have educational achievement, that infant mortality and life expectancy are the same as for non-Indigenous Australians and that we reduce the over-representation in our care and protection and our justice system.

I will shortly be going out to meet with one of our youth services, Gugan Gulwan, down there in Erindale, a service that I have had the pleasure of working with over many years in my former occupation before I came into the Assembly. They run a number of programs. I will be seeing how they are going. I do know that one of the programs they are running supports young people through education. I understand that the funding for that will be running out in about the middle of the year and they are quite concerned about what is going to happen from there.

We have heard the minister talk about the importance of education. It is incredibly important for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be able to achieve a high level of education, particularly here in the ACT when we know the sort of job market that is out there. Also, because it provides them with so many opportunities, education is a real key. So I will be talking to them about what sort of support they are going to need with that program and the other programs they run.

Certainly, I thank the minister for raising this very important matter here in the Assembly today.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Mr Hargreaves, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Doszpot be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of older Canberrans to the ACT.

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (3.50): As we celebrate Seniors Week 2012 in the ACT this week I felt this matter of public importance was timely and I thank the

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