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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2020 Week 3 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 746 ..


I know that the restriction on the number of people able to attend funerals has already been hard on those who have lost loved ones during this time, and that will affect many people over the coming weeks and likely months. Yet people understand why these things are important. They know what is facing us if we do not take these difficult measures now.

I also acknowledge the enormous impact of this emergency on those who have lost their jobs or livelihoods, because this is not only a public health emergency: its effects have very quickly been felt across the whole economy and the whole community. The only way we can beat COVID-19 is with the community's continued support, combined with the professionalism and dedication of staff right across our health system and other essential services.

Thank you to the healthcare workers and other essential services staff for all that they are doing to keep our community safe. Your efforts are tireless and we know that there is still a long road ahead. This pandemic will not be over tomorrow, next week or even next month, but together we will get through this.

I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Jones) adjourned to the next sitting.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020

Mr Barr, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (10.27): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 introduces necessary changes to our legislative framework to ensure that the government and the Canberra community are the most prepared and best equipped to deal with the current public health emergency.

COVID-19 has killed tens of thousands of people around the world since it emerged late last year. It has compelled governments worldwide, including all Australian governments, to impose restrictions on their communities which, until recently, would have been unimaginable, and trillions of dollars have been committed to keeping economies afloat.

This emergency response bill gives urgent effect to commonwealth agreements, as well as to ensure that necessary measures are implemented to allow us to adapt and respond to COVID-19. The bill is an omnibus bill which amends a range of legislation across ministerial portfolios.


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