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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1321 ..

Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (6.04): Earlier this week, I was honoured to join a group of young people as they graduated from project Booyah at an emotional ceremony at the Tuggeranong Community Centre. Project Booyah is run by the Canberra Police Community Youth Club, better known as PCYC, and is a 20-week early intervention program originally developed by the Queensland Police Service.

Over the past two years, project Booyah has supported at-risk young Canberrans aged between 14 and 18 to complete certificate II qualifications and gain workplace skills, and assist them to employment. It incorporates adventure-based learning, social development, mentoring, and a structured three-day outdoor educational camp that focuses on leadership and team building to grow confidence. Caseworkers educate participants on topics like drug and alcohol awareness, mental health, respectful relationships, anger management, consequences of crime and physical health. Many participants in the program were referred to the program because they were disengaged from education or considered to be at risk of offending.

The vast majority of graduates from previous cohorts, more than 80 per cent, have not offended since leaving the program, which is an amazing result. Canberra PCYC executive director, Cheryl O’Donnell, is quoted in today’s Canberra Times as saying that they see “the change in attitude, their behaviours, their ability to actually socialise in a positive manner”. The article goes on:

“[When we first meet them]—

Ms O’Donnell says—

we’ll ask them what they see as their future, and four out of six had said they could see themselves in future years actually ending up in the AMC (Alexander Maconochie Centre).

The article continues:

When we’ve got that negative outlook and this is my pathway and this is how it’s all been mapped out for me, to be able to change that mindset is amazing.

One proud dad at the graduation told me how the program had turned things around for his son and, in doing so, had also turned things around for his family and friends.

I know that Mrs Kikkert has spoken of this program in the Assembly before, and I join her in congratulating PCYC for such a fabulous program.

The ACT government considers Canberra PCYC a vital partner in the youth justice space more broadly. The Community Services Directorate provided more than $640,000 in funding for PCYC programs last year, and further funding comes from ACT Policing. The PCYC has helped countless young people and their families in the Canberra community for the past 60 years.

I was therefore very pleased to see their contribution recognised last year at the 2017 Yogie awards, which are organised by the Youth Coalition of the ACT to

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