Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2017) . . Page.. 2962 ..
remains a lot of hurt in the veterans community about that issue. (Second speaking period taken.)
In closing, I am disappointed that the budget will not have a specific line for veterans’ issues. That was a recommendation that came out of the estimates report which I think would be useful. I know that is a bit of a frustration in other areas as well—women, Indigenous and so on—where it is very difficult to track what is being provided by the government. If they are not going to provide that specific budget line item, I ask that the minister provide a consolidated response so that next year in estimates, when we come to the same line of questioning, he is able to provide a more fulsome response on the specific initiatives that are addressing veterans’ issues in the ACT.
I look forward to seeing the minister tomorrow at the Vietnam veterans event, and no doubt at many other events that will occur. As I said, despite the poisoning of the well by Ms Cody, which is really unfortunate, this is an area where we should all be working and striving together to acknowledge the sacrifice of the many thousands of veterans, men and women, that we have living here in our great city.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (5.30): As shadow minister for youth I am grateful for this opportunity to speak on one more matter relating to appropriations for the Community Services Directorate. I will be brief and to the point. During estimates hearings both Mr Wall and I asked the minister for youth about specific budget measures designed to address youth unemployment and underemployment, which are quite high in the territory. In fact, youth unemployment in the ACT grew from a low of 3.8 per cent in July 2008 to 10.5 per cent in May this year.
In response to our questions, the minister told us that the territory is not unique in having a high unemployment rate for young people. She pointed to the overall state of the ACT economy, including growth in the tourism industry, and she declared that the government already has a range of measures in place to assist young people in securing employment. She also confirmed that this budget includes no specific projects or programs targeting youth unemployment. It is all just business as usual.
She also said that if the Youth Advisory Council proposes specific measures looking at the engagement of young people in the workforce and what more we can do about that, “we will take that seriously”. In response, the Select Committee on Estimates recommended that the government “develop specific initiatives that address youth unemployment and underemployment”.
This week we received the government’s response to the select committee’s report, in which the government agreed in principle to this recommendation. This supposed agreement does not appear to be serious, however, if one reads the details. First, the government, unlike the minister, reviews a number of already existing measures that are in place, including education and training. Then the government says that it will:
… continue to explore new options and strengthen collaborative partnerships …
But to what end? I continue to quote from the response: