Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 August 2016) . . Page.. 2534 ..
In youth affairs, I want to point to the government’s ongoing support for the Youth Advisory Council, Youth Week and the inaugural young person’s think tank, which is coming up later this month. I greatly value the views of Canberra’s young people. The key investments in areas such as homelessness, mental health, transport concessions and employment support all of the target areas of greatest need for young Canberrans to be mobile and have good access to the people, places and services they need.
The government’s aim is always to support our community to be its best and to support individuals to be included and valued. That is what underpins the 2016 budget and our work each and every day.
MRS JONES (Molonglo) (7.51): In respect of output class 1.6, I will speak to multicultural affairs and to women. Last week I brought a motion to this place addressing the enormous contribution the multicultural and multifaith groups make to our community and the importance for these groups to have a place to hold festivals, to worship, to conduct language classes or dance classes and to be as a community. It is great to hear the minister noting the money that is being paid by the government to support language schools and other great works in this area.
I talked about the importance of being able to access either land or facilities so that these multicultural and multifaith groups could have a place to call their own here in our city and how this helps their sense of belonging in and contributing to our community. I am pleased that in general the area of multicultural affairs is one that has been quite bipartisan. I am pleased, as Minister Rattenbury noted last week, that we are, indeed, a growing city. It is vital that we continue to invest in new facilities and spaces that accommodate the full range of the community’s needs. It is clear that this is an issue within the multicultural area where some extra work is needed.
Echoing my motion last week, I go on being concerned about the new and emerging multicultural and multifaith groups here in Canberra and whether or not they are able to access community land or facilities to establish their cultural or faith homes. Many of the groups have been waiting for many years for access to or approval for community land or suitable facilities. Again, I think it is important that there is a very clear process that the multicultural and multifaith groups can follow to access facilities and that they have a clear understanding up-front of the time lines and time frames and a step-by-step knowledge of how to apply for land or to use a community facility. I think there is still more work to be done.
Another area that I am particularly focused on for the multicultural community is English language classes. As the daughter of a migrant, I have seen firsthand the significant benefit that access to English language classes can make. I am very pleased that we have English language classes available for our new arrivals. However, as I have discussed before, I am concerned that many women who are at home with young children are not able to access these classes as often as we would like.
Many of these families are on limited incomes and can afford only one car, which generally the husband uses to get to work. With the mother at home caring for