Page 910 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 April 2014

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Part of the problem in finding funding for sporting teams is that there is a belief that there is no audience for anything other than elite men’s sport. I know that this is not true. So I will continue to do what I have always done, to urge everybody I know to get out and watch our elite women’s and para-athletic sporting teams. The players on these teams have all the skill, dedication and grit of their better-paid counterparts. When we show up to support their teams we make the case for investment in their development.

I would like to congratulate Abby Bishop’s WNBL and European team for supporting her as the carer of a young child and I would like to encourage all Assembly members to get down and show their support for the development of all young athletes at the Belco stadium from the 10th to the 17th of this month.

Youth Homelessness Matters Day

MR WALL (Brindabella) (6.36): Today is Youth Homelessness Matters Day, and I am very pleased to participate in this initiative as an ambassador, along with many of my colleagues here in this Assembly and along with the territory’s federal representatives. Today, along with many members—and I think all of the members that are currently in this chamber who attended—I attended the launch of Youth Homelessness Matters Day, which is supported by the ACT peak body for the youth sector, the Youth Coalition of the ACT.

This is the 20th year of the National Youth Coalition for Housing initiative, which this year is being held during National Youth Week. Nationally, half of the homeless population are aged under 25, which equates to more than 26,000 young people who will not have a secure place to sleep on any given night.

Youth Homelessness Matters Day aims to raise awareness and break down some of the stereotypes that exist about homeless youth. Often there is a perception that young people choose to be homeless or to leave home. However, more often than not young people become or are at risk of being homeless due to family circumstances. Those that do run away from home by choice are often escaping a violent, abusive, unsupportive or severely broken home.

In the ACT we have the additional issue of hosting many young people who come here from regional centres with the attraction of work or study. Usually these young people are subsisting on a minimum wage or apprenticeship wage, and this can mean that they find themselves facing serious challenges as they search for suitable accommodation and affordable accommodation within the ACT. These challenges can be overcome and should not and do not dictate a person’s future.

It is important also to remember that being homeless does not mean that things will not improve. There is always hope, and I encourage all members in this place to have the conversation today about youth homelessness and why it matters with family, friends and colleagues. I commend this initiative to the Assembly.

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