Page 4668 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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violence that have plagued this territory’s youth detention centres for far too long. In the meantime, I note that youth workers who were stood down from Bimberi 17 months ago are still in limbo, with the government’s investigation continuing to drag on for unexplained reasons. I simply cannot see how this situation could in any way be considered fair to these workers, and I worry that it may have taken a serious toll on their mental health.

The minister also mentioned improving the experience of those involved in adoption, but the only improvement she noted was that better information is now more easily available regarding the adoption process in the ACT. I note that this is only the second of the six recommendations that this government earlier this year committed to, and arguably the easiest one. Considering that ACT Together are currently advertising for additional foster carers who wish to adopt, I expect this government to make real progress in implementing the other four recommendations as soon as possible.

The minister also addressed the formation of a review into the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids in the child protection system. Considering the dismal numbers on this point, a review is much needed, but I remind this Assembly that until a few weeks ago no Indigenous Australian had been recruited for this review. In addition, the government’s child and youth protection assurance and improvement committee still lacks any Indigenous members and the minister has admitted on radio that the government has not tried hard enough to recruit any. I look forward to seeing improvement in this area also.

Lastly, I remind this Assembly that, despite the fact that youth unemployment in the ACT has increased to 10.5 per cent in May this year, this government has no specific initiatives to address youth unemployment and underemployment. As Rebecca Cuzzillo, policy director of the Youth Coalition of the ACT, told the Select Committee on Estimates earlier this year, she is disappointed by this fact, and so am I. In concluding her statement, the minister said that she looks forward to the next 12 months. So do I, Madam Speaker, and I sincerely hope that this time next year there will be far fewer concerns for me to raise in response to the minister’s statement.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Lakes Amendment Bill 2017

Mr Gentleman, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (12.06): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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