Department Of Community Services Youth Program Awards

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SpeakersTsang The Hon Henry; Tebbutt The Hon Carmel
BusinessQuestions Without Notice

Page: 7674

    The Hon. HENRY TSANG: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Community Services. What recognition has the Department of Community Services won recently for its programs to help young people?

    The Hon. CARMEL TEBBUTT: I take great delight in focusing on some positive recognition of the Department of Community Services [DOCS]. I am pleased to inform the House that two DOCS-funded programs were winners in the 2002 Premier's Public Sector Awards, which were announced on 25 November. In addition, a youth project funded by the department won a Community Relations Commission 2002 National Multicultural Marketing Award. Members opposite can make all the noise they like because Government members know, given the activities of Coalition members when they were in government, that they do not have a huge commitment to public service, let alone the Department of Community Services. Nonetheless, for those who work in the Department of Community Services, it is important to focus on the positives, acknowledge when it gets things right and when it is recognised for having done so. That is why I am very pleased to announce in this House the good work of the Department of Community Services.

    The awards are significant. The Premier's Public Sector Awards comprised a bronze medal for a joint initiative of DOCS and the Computer Sciences Corporation [CSC] that offers young people in care in New South Wales $10,000 scholarships to develop information technology skills, and a gold medal in the social justice work force diversity category for a parenting magazine for Arabic communities, which was developed by DOCS as part of the Youth Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities initiative. I am sure all honourable members would agree that these are both very innovative programs. The joint DOCS-CSC "Give IT a Go" scholarship program gives 10 young people aged between 15 and 17 who are in care in New South Wales the chance to receive information technology [IT] industry exposure and on-site work experience. The "Give IT a Go" scholarships were launched this year and will run again next year. They include workshops in Canberra and Sydney where young people in care may learn computer and business skills, as well as communication and presentation skills, leadership and problem solving. The scholarships also allow young people to learn about careers in business and technology and to discover more about work and study opportunities in IT.

    Poorer educational outcomes for young people in care are well known. This is an important initiative that provides opportunities for young people in care to increase their knowledge and understanding in IT and business technology. The Arabic parenting magazine covers a range of key parenting issues that have been identified by Arabic families. It includes building good relationships with children, coping with intergenerational conflict, supporting children at school and protecting children from harm. The free, 36-page magazine was developed by the Department of Community Services New South Wales Parenting Centre and contains information in both Arabic and English. Twenty-five thousand copies of the magazine were printed and distributed through local libraries, community health centres, DOCS offices and Arabic organisations in south-western Sydney. They have been very well received.

    I turn now to the other awards. The HomeBass Youth Cafe, which provides services for young people aged between 12 and 24 years in the Bankstown area, recently won the Government award in the Community Relations Commission's 2002 National Multicultural Marketing Awards. The HomeBass Youth Cafe is the result of a successful partnership between DOCS, the Bankstown City Council, the Police and Community Youth Club and the Bankstown Multicultural Youth Service. DOCS provides recurrent funding of $200,000 to the Bankstown City Council to auspice the project, which benefits from dedicated volunteers, who hold daily activities for young people. In the July school holidays this year, HomeBass organised six young volunteers to operate craft classes for children in Bankstown Square. In just three days, approximately 800 children, parents and grandparents attended. A youth advisory committee, which meets monthly to make decisions on the structure of HomeBass and to organise daily activities for young people, has a sense of ownership and responsibility that helps to make the cafe safe and accessible. It is a significant achievement to win medals in the Premier's Public Sector Awards and to be a winner in the National Multicultural Marketing Awards. I congratulate the department. [Time expired.]