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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1260


Ms HALL (Shortland) (19:34): I would like to share with the House the outstanding success of the Better Futures Local Solutions program in the Wyong part of the Shortland electorate. The Wyong Shire is one of 10 regions in Australia in which the Better Futures Local Solutions initiative is run. The area was identified as being suited to the program because it is an area of acute disadvantage. Recent statistics indicate that one in four families are jobless and that youth unemployment is very high. There is also a large number of women who have babies at a very young age. This program provides hope for the future and gives young people the opportunity to succeed.

The local advisory group has been established for the area. The program is about building stronger relationships, identifying approaches to employment security, strengthening local labour markets and helping people find jobs. The local advisory group is a very far-sighted group that is really at the heart of the community. The people on that committee represent the community. I would like to acknowledge the role of Kylie Faulder, a community action leader; Alison McEvoy, who is the government action leader; Warren Welham, who is the chair of the local advisory group; Jillian Hogan, from the San Remo Neighbourhood Centre, and she does great work in that area; Jack Ritchie; Maggie MacFie from Youth Connections and all the other members of that local advisory group.

The program has enjoyed outstanding success. It provides a range of opportunities for young parents and their children. It is being run through the Department of Human Services. It works closely with community groups to offer practical programs that will help parents get into work. One of those programs is the DALE program. I to give special credit to Kevin Berger from St Phillips Christian College. This program focuses on helping young parents and their children who have little access to education and employment. It has provided support to young parents to complete high school, develop work skills, improve job readiness and develop parenting skills. It is a fantastic program and has fantastic outcomes: 24 young people graduated from that program last time. They went in with no future; they have come out with a future. It is a fantastic program.

The other program is LEAP—Local Employment Access Program—and that is being run by the San Remo Neighbourhood Centre. It provides local employment and access projects and aims to assist up to about 80 families by coordinating individualised support services. The program is ensuring that people can get around the barriers that are in place to stop them from succeeding. This year there is a new round starting, and I am sure that it is going to enjoy the same success that the program enjoyed last year and continue to benefit young people by running TAFE Skills for Tomorrow programs. This program shows what you can do when you develop a place-based approach to solving problems. This shows what you can do when you include the community in what you are doing. This has also identified that in the northern part of the Wyong Shire, an area where there is the highest degree of disadvantage, there is a shortage of suitable accommodation. We want to try and set up a better futures incubator looking at providing education, early childhood training and social enterprise all from the one site. This is something that we need to do as we look to the future. We need to get behind this great initiative, get behind the local advisory group, get behind people who have got vision for the area and get behind those young people that want hope for the future. I put to the House that this is one of the most successful programs I have ever seen. (Time expired)