Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Questions without notice

Youth strategy


Youth strategy

Brad BATTIN (Berwick) (16:28): Berwick – I have moved up the alphabet. First of all, congratulations on your elevation to the role of Speaker.

My question is to the Minister for Youth. Minister, repeated expert reports have concluded that locking up and isolating young people in youth detention centres has a long-term impact on mental health and increases the likelihood of young people spiralling into a life of crime. To implement the government’s Our Promise, Your Future: Victoria’s Youth Strategy, in particular to expand for young people in and at risk of entering the youth justice system, what advice has the minister received as to the effect on young people of being forced into lockdown and isolation because of inadequate staffing numbers?

Natalie SULEYMAN (St Albans – Minister for Veterans, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Youth) (16:29): Thank you very much for my first question. I would like to begin by congratulating you, Speaker, on your reappointment to the Speaker’s role, and I congratulate everybody in this place for their election.

Let me say this is a space I am very passionate about. Just this August we did implement the youth plan, the Your Future strategy. This is a five-year strategy that looks into implementing government policy when it comes to the health and wellbeing of young people and jobs. Most importantly, this is a plan that has been endorsed by over 2000 young people across Victoria in metro Melbourne and of course in regional Victoria as well, having a say on what they would like to see as part of their future. Just recently I had the opportunity to meet with the youth congress members – last week – and had the opportunity to talk to them firsthand about their experiences, their leadership and, most importantly, what they would like to see in the new year.

I also had the opportunity to visit YACVic, the youth affairs council, in Bendigo –

James Newbury: On a point of order, Speaker, on relevance, the –

Members interjecting.

James Newbury: Sure, sure, sure. Look, the minister has had a couple of moments to commence her answer. The report specifically goes to the issue of youth detention, and the question asked specifically about that matter. I call on the minister to return to that question.

Mary-Anne Thomas: Speaker, on the point of order, the minister is being entirely relevant to the question. She was asked about the youth strategy, and she is detailing to the house elements of the youth strategy. I ask that you allow her to continue to answer that question.

The SPEAKER: Order! I was listening closely to the minister’s response. She had only just started. She was outlining the youth strategy. I ask her to come back to answering the question.

Natalie SULEYMAN: Thank you, Speaker. As I was saying, I had the opportunity to travel to Bendigo and meet with the youth affairs council and speak to them. They were a broad range of young people from across the region, all the way from Warrnambool and Mildura. We spoke about the youth strategy and the initiatives and programs that the Andrews Labor government will implement in the new year. I am looking forward to meeting with key stakeholders and working with young people to make sure that their voices are heard through the youth plan, and absolutely our commitment will be to deliver the youth plan in the new year.