Hendy Cowan

Hendy Cowan


    Government supports Internet youth service

    8/09/2000 9:18 AM

    A specialised Internet-based youth self-help service offers a valuable new communication and support link for young Western Australians living in regional areas, according to Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan.

    He said that young people in country areas sometimes felt isolated and needed to share their feelings, fears, challenges and experiences with peers.

    “The Internet can make this process so much easier and the Reach Out! site provides a readily available access point,” Mr Cowan said.

    The Minister was speaking in Narrogin, where he launched the WA leg of the Reach Out! Rural and Regional Tour of Australia (RORRT).

    The State Government is supporting the Reach Out program, and the tour, with a financial contribution of $69,000 spread across various Government agencies.

    Reach Out! is an initiative of the Inspire Foundation - a partnership between corporate Australia, Government and communities.

    It can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.reachout.com.au.

    For those without the Internet, it can be accessed through any of the State’s 78 approved telecentres.

    Reach Out! is the first service of its kind in the world to use the Internet to help young people get through difficult times.

    It provides important information, contacts and suggestions about what to do when the going gets tough and incorporates the latest in technology and Internet design, featuring leading Australian graphic artists.

    Reach Out! offers specialist sites, such as Chill Out!, for young people to get support and have their say and Who Cares?, a database providing a sophisticated map-based service where young people can locate assistance in their local area.

    Importantly, Reach Out! is available 24 hours a day and gives young people an anonymous way to get help.

    Mr Cowan said the Internet site would complement a range of youth-related Government initiatives, including Youth Advisory Councils, regional 2029 youth forums, leadership development and employment programs.

    The State’s first comprehensive Regional Development Policy, released earlier this year, emphasises the need to support regional youth.

    Mr Cowan said the Wheatbelt was an appropriate place to launch the Reach Out! regional tour because of its widely dispersed population. Half of its population is spread across more than 30 urban centres, with the other half living in small clusters of fewer than 200 people.

    The 12-week tour will take in more than 50 locations - from Kununurra to Esperance - providing a “fun, but serious” means of support and inspiration to young people.

    During the tour, Inspire will capture stories, interviews, art and images of young people in rural WA so their unique experiences can be shared and these will also be posted to purpose-built community websites.

    Media contact: Peter Jackson 9222-9595