Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 May 2015) . . Page.. 1390 ..
saying they would like to have the opportunity to engage is something that I think we might all reflect on.
From these results overall it is clear that we do need to find ways to better connect with the young people in our community on a variety of different issues and perhaps in some new ways. As I have said, more importantly we need to take these issues raised on board and work to address them in a whole-of-government, whole-of-community way. However, young people are not a homogenous group and do not necessarily define themselves by their age. That is why we need to be broader in our approach. Investing in targeted services is only part of the solution.
Some of the other areas we can improve to maintain our commitment to young people include creating more opportunities for genuine consultation, not just information provision. I was speaking to that briefly before, but I think that is a really important point. For example, we must be careful to remember that the views in letters to the editor of the Canberra Times or the views of those who participate in community councils are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to community views.
They certainly represent some part of the community views but I do not think anyone who goes to a community council sees too many young people in the 12 to 25 age group. I cannot imagine they provide a lot of letters to the newspaper editor. So we need to make sure that our views are not shaped solely by those channels and that we find genuine ways to make sure we take on board the broader perspectives.
We also need to work with local businesses and industry bodies to attract and, more importantly, to retain young people starting out in the workforce via traineeships and apprenticeships and find more substantive ways to ensure that the voice of young people is heard on the many committees and boards we have that deal with issues that affect the whole community.
These are challenging times for young people in Canberra. The territory is dealing with the loss of federal public service jobs. Members may remember the blunt end to some of the commonwealth government’s graduate programs that left young people high and dry with an uncertain future due to budget cuts. The higher education system is still unsure of its future in terms of funding and deregulation. The youth allowance and other human services payments are still under the shadow of the brutal Commission of Audit that could deliver a six-month payment-free period for young people seeking work.
The list goes on but it is fair to say that young people stand to lose a lot under the current federal government. Certainly for those who are at the more vulnerable end of the spectrum, these sorts of changes and cutbacks are particularly threatening and particularly create uncertainty for them. The ACT government needs to watch these issues carefully as they progress and maintain our strong record of not furthering disadvantage but promoting social inclusion and social equity.
In closing, I fully support this motion that calls on us to maintain our commitment to young people and to enhance and actively seek the views of young people. It is now up to all of us to consider if we are truly using these views to inform the development and delivery of these services.