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Ministers on Notice to Ensure All Checks Are Done With Teen Challenge

Parliamentary Activity - Thursday, 16 June 2016,


Andrea Dawkins MP to move—

That the House:—

(1)           Notes:—

(a)           that in December 2014 the Minister for Education and Training, Hon. Jeremy Rockliff MP, announced the closure of the former Meander Primary School at Meander;

(b)           that Teen Challenge Tasmania has received approval from the Meander Valley Council to establish their ‘Home of Hope’ at the former school site, which the organisation states “… will provide female adolescents, single women, pregnant women, and women with children suffering from addictions, domestic violence and life controlling issues a safe and stable environment”;

(c)           that, although the Meander Valley Mayor has indicated to the contrary, a Director of Teen Challenge, an organisation with “programs based on Christian principles” has stated previously that the centre at Meander would not accept women and children of a different faith, or who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI);

(d)           that many people in and around the Meander community have expressed concern at how the establishment of a women and children’s residential recovery centre may have adverse consequences, with the potential for violence, particularly towards those escaping family violence, to follow the residents of Home of Hope to the small town;

(e)           that while the establishment of more shelter-style accommodation for women and children in Tasmania is welcomed, the Home of Hope will offer no residential rehabilitative services for men or adolescent males;

(f)            that males are more likely to be substance abusers and, at both State and National level, are three times more likely than females to consume alcohol at a level exceeding lifetime risk;

(g)           that the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report revealed that people who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, whether male or female, have higher rates of alcohol consumption at risky levels and higher rates of illicit drug use, at almost 3 times the rate for some substances than their heterosexual counterparts; and

(h)           that Missiondale at Evandale, a faith based branch of the City Mission, has a long record of success in assisting those afflicted with life controlling addiction, and that that residential recovery program offers a place to anyone over the age of 18, regardless of gender, race, faith or sexual identity;

(2)           Calls on the Minister for Health, Hon. Michael Ferguson MP, to ensure all quality and safety checks are undertaken and strictly adhered to for the Home of Hope at Meander and to ensure discrimination toward faith and sexual identity do not inhibit the ability of those who need it to seek help and to have that help provided in a safe and supportive way.

(3)           Calls on the Minister for Education and Training, the Hon. Jeremy Rockliff MP, to ensure that the former Meander Primary School site is utilised to the benefit of the whole of the community in an around Meander.