Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 2017) . . Page.. 4133 ..
truly a community outreach program. Solids has had incredible success. It boasts 100 per cent school completion and in the high 90s for school attendance. Significantly, not one child or youth involved in the program has been mixed up with the justice system. Not one!
Yes, the numbers are small. We are speaking here of 50 or so students who attend the program after school each week. You would think that a program such as this, which aims to keep students out of the justice system and keep them off the streets, would have the support of this government, especially when we hear about the high Indigenous incarceration rates, the high recidivism rates and the high rates of youth detention in the ACT—some of the highest in the country.
But the support, as we heard from Minister Berry yesterday, is not there, nor has it ever been. Yet Bill wants to achieve so much more. The solids motto is, “We have survived. We now want to thrive.” Bill has run solids for the last six years with one-off funding from the federal government’s Indigenous advancement strategy. However, Bill tells me that the program will cease operations as of the end of this year because the federal government’s funding will run out. Despite repeated calls, emails and, yes, tweets, to the various local territory ministers, there has been no support from them.
Let me be blunt: it is time for this government to become serious about supporting these small programs that make a difference in the lives of Indigenous young people. With the right funding for programs such as solids, so much could be achieved. I commend the program to the Assembly for the wonderful work it is doing.
Same-sex marriage postal survey
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.39): Once again, I would like to speak briefly on the non-binding, non-compulsory postal survey on equal marriage, but this time on a much happier note. I rise today to celebrate the amazing achievements of the volunteers for the yes campaign for marriage equality here in the ACT.
As the Assembly knows, most of the survey forms were delivered to Canberra letterboxes in the middle of last week. For a lot of people that came as a surprise. It certainly did to me. I do not think anyone expected them to get here this quickly. For anyone who has ever been involved in a campaign, political or otherwise, that involves responses after posting, we know that the first five days after letters are received are the most critical.
No matter how long people have to respond, you could expect that nearly 80 per cent of all the survey responses would have been posted back between Thursday last week and Monday this week, which made last weekend the most critical campaign period in the ACT for the vote yes campaign. I would like to thank everybody who made the campaign work this past week, everyone who went above and beyond, putting tens and hundreds of hours into making sure the ACT has the highest yes vote in the country.