Social Issues Bulletin

Prime Ministerial Youth Homeless TaskForce

The Prime Minister recently announced the terms of reference and membership of his taskforce to address Youth Homelessness.

The Taskforce will oversee the development and the operation of a two year pilot program. The Taskforce will be chaired by Captain David Eldridge, Chairman of the Salvation Army's Eastern Division in Melbourne.

The two year voluntary pilot program will:

An action research program will run in conjunction with the pilot to identify best practice in:

Captain Eldridge has considerable experience with young homeless people and their families and he will be assisted by representatives from the voluntary welfare sectors who have experience and expertise in the delivery of services to young people at risk.

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Coalition Government Pledge for Global Ban on Landmines

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has announced that the Federal Government fully supports a global ban on the production, stockpiling, use and transfer of anti-personal landmines (APL). He has also announced an immediate suspension on the operational use of APL by the Australian Defence force.

Indiscriminate use of landmines creates daily tragedies for innocent civilians in areas that are no longer war zones.

Australia does not and will not produce or export landmines.

The Australian Defence Force has played a significant role in clearing mines in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Mozambique. This financial year Australia will contribute $4 million to mine clearance under the AusAid program.

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National Prevention Strategy For Child Abuse and Neglect

The National Prevention Strategy for Child Abuse and Neglect is currently being reviewed. The strategy includes a national education campaign involving both the State and Federal Government.

The Government is also committed to ensuring that all parents have fair and equitable access to affordable, flexible and high quality child care options.

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Gun Control

All Australians have been shocked and saddened by the horrific tragedy at Port Arthur in Tasmania.

Words are not adequate to express the senselessness of the killings. I have written to the local Federal Member for the area, The Hon. D Adams to offer the sincere sympathy and condolences of the people of Kingston to the families and friends of those killed and injured.

The Federal, State and Territory Governments have agreed on tougher measures to effectively tighten gun control laws. This agreement includes a ban on automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and a nationwide approach to registration and licensing.

The importation, ownership, sale, resale, transfer, possession, manufacture or use of all:

will be prohibited.

Allowances will be made for legitimate sporting and recreational activities and the proper needs of our rural communities.

Fair and proper compensation will be paid for the surrender of prohibited guns. Stringent storage requirements and compulsory safety training for first time licence applicants will also be introduced.

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