Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2016) . . Page.. 220 ..


that the committee will need to contemplate as they examine these issues, and I am sure that will be a point that will be drawn out by some of the witnesses that come before the committee.

Madam Speaker, I intend to support Mr Corbell’s amendment. I think there is some value in going to the health services committee rather than creating a different committee. I note that Mr Corbell has proposed some terms of reference as none was originally proposed when this motion was put forward. I have not heard anything to the contrary that says that this is not an agreeable way forward. The question of when the committee reports is one on which I have an open mind. It does seem perhaps better to have it at the end of this term, but I am happy to work with other members to find a suitable outcome noting the uncertainty on that point.

Overall, I think this is a very important issue for the Assembly to look at. I look forward to both following some of the witness presentations when the committee calls witnesses and reading the final report of the committee.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Multicultural and Youth Affairs, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (10.59): I too would like to thank Mrs Jones for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. As minister for youth and inclusion, it is a privilege to rise today to support the referral of this important matter to the health committee, as has been proposed by Minister Corbell. Minister Corbell has spoken about mental health as an issue high on the government’s agenda for youth, and it is timely for the health committee to explore this issue at greater length.

As minister for inclusion, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the impact suicide has on groups that are all too often marginalised and stigmatised in our community. We know that the rate of suicide and self-harm amongst young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, amongst survivors of torture and trauma and amongst young people who identify as LGBTIQ, is significantly higher than that of their peers.

Last year, after an excellent speech at the Youth Coalition’s just sayin’ event, Joel Wilson, a young trans advocate, took the time to talk to me about the impact of social exclusion on the mental health of trans people in our community. He told me about how the small ways our society still misunderstands the issues faced by young trans people add up and undermine their dignity. He told me that, shockingly, one in five young trans people experience suicidal ideation. We need to make sure that there are services available to individuals experiencing mental health issues and supports for young people considering suicide but, as this motion indicates, we also have a responsibility to look at the broader cultural factors that exclude some of our young people and put them at risk.

Mrs Jones talked about the way society packages up body image for women and girls. I can only imagine what a young trans person would be feeling having that society also putting pressure on them about who they should identify as, what their sexual identity is. As a government and a community we need to be vigilant to ensure that our institutions—schools, hospitals, housing providers and youth services—support


Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video