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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 May 2015) . . Page.. 1385 ..

Paragraph (2)(i) raises the important issue of providing services to the territory’s Indigenous youth. It is an important policy if we are to break some of the generational underprivilege within our Indigenous community. I am proud to have brought the need for further support of Gugan Gulwan into this place previously, in the form of a motion that sought to identify additional community space to meet the growing need that Gugan faces whilst trying to service the Indigenous community in Tuggeranong.

The best thing we can do in this place is ensure that there is a future for young people in this city, that Canberra presents an opportunity to be part of a city that recognises the desires of its youth and that the city has a diverse offering of adequate opportunities for work, play and to live.

I think my amendment is quite self explanatory and it will better reflect the history of this place. I will be keenly watching to see if this newfound interest in youth matters by those opposite manages to be sustained for the duration of the next year or if this will be simply one of those once-a-year experiences.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (11.59): I thank Dr Bourke for his motion and I welcome the opportunity to speak about how valued Canberra’s youth and young people are in our community and how they are being supported to realise their full potential through the development of skills and abilities that are essential to both their future and the city’s future.

Supporting our young people is particularly relevant in the ACT. Canberra has one of the youngest populations of any state or territory, with approximately 77,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 25 residing in the ACT, representing more than 20 per cent of Canberra’s population.

The ACT government supports youth-friendly planning of our city and region. A youth-friendly city is a city committed to fulfilling young people’s rights. It is a city where the voices, needs, priorities and rights of youth are an integral part of public policies, programs and decisions. It is, as a result, a city that is fit for us all.

In the ACT there are a number of ways in which young people can have their say on issues that are important to them on an ongoing basis. In particular, the ACT government invites young people to have a voice in decision-making through the Youth Advisory Council. The Youth Advisory Council provides me, as the Minister for Children and Young People, with advice on issues related to young people in the ACT. The 15 members are aged between 12 and 25 years and are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds that represent our broader community, including a gender balance, disabilities, and representation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The Youth Advisory Council also supports the development of young people as leaders. The council is a means through which young people can learn about areas such as community leadership, policy development and working with government. The ACT government will continue to work to have young people’s voices heard in the decisions that affect them.

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