Page 1389 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 May 2015

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I know that a number of members were at that event. I personally found it a very worthwhile experience. There was quite a diverse selection of young speakers that presented on a range of different topics. They came from very different perspectives as well. There were different age groups. Overall, I think that anybody who went to that session got a new perspective on some key issues. I think we were all impressed by the calibre of the young people presenting, the passion of their arguments and the diversity of ideas that they presented to us.

The Youth Coalition is the peak body for youth affairs in the ACT. In addition to events like Just Sayin’ it has also undertaken work to help identify the views of young people and present those views to government. I instance the 2012 rate Canberra survey. The 1,376 young people in the ACT and surrounding region who participated in the survey provided an inaugural snapshot of the key issues, experiences and views of young people aged 12 to 25 years in the ACT and surrounding region. It is worth touching on a few of the points from the survey results.

One of them is the top five personal concerns for young people. They were school, work or study, stress, body image, feeling sad or anxious and finding things to do in Canberra. In some ways that list perhaps should not surprise us. These are themes that came up at the Just Sayin’ event but also I think they come up if you have teenagers in your life. If you follow what they are up to on social media, these things are consistent through their commentary. I think that presents very concrete feedback to us as members of this place to be mindful of as we think about the broad spectrum of the community that we seek to serve.

Furthermore, in the survey young people thought that the following general issues were the most important: family relationships, human rights, mental health and wellbeing, access to health services and poverty. The biggest barrier to young people’s participation in social and recreational activities was “I am too busy” or “I do not have time”, followed by “It is too expensive” and “I cannot travel there; it is too hard to get there.”

This gives us some real pointers as we think about things like transport policy. We should really reflect on whether it meets the needs of all of the community. Young people often are the ones that do not have cars. They either are too young to drive or perhaps have not saved up enough money to have a car yet. When I think about transport policy, dealing with social isolation and enabling all members of our community to fully participate in community life, this is something that I am very cognisant of.

I turn to other findings of the survey. Most young people were unsure whether, or did not think that, they were valued by the ACT community. Many felt that the ACT community held negative stereotypes of young people and did not consider them to be important enough to listen to. Interestingly, 60 per cent of young people aged 16 and 17 thought that young people of this age should be allowed to vote in government elections if it were optional rather than compulsory for this age group. That, of course, is a policy the Greens have held for some time but it is interesting to see this result. I think it is often a stereotype that young people are not engaged in politics, that they are not interested in current affairs and the like. To see such a significant percentage

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