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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2653 ..


homelessness services. They have chosen to give a $1,000 utility rebate to low income Canberrans who struggle with what is often the most expensive impact on the household budget—the utilities. These are the things that are within the territory government’s control. With respect to those things that are within its control, the territory government continues to make allowances and amends. The government reflects on policy and does all it can to advocate for and to make life easier for Canberra’s poorest, most vulnerable and most disadvantaged.

Listeners might have noticed that I am getting a little bit agitated in my closing remarks. I am getting agitated in my closing remarks because I grew up poor. I grew up in public housing in Palmerston. I did not finish my education because I needed to go to work.

Mrs Jones: Do you think you are the only one?

MR DAVIS: I know I am not the only one, Mrs Jones. I know there are a lot of people in Canberra who live pay cheque to pay cheque. I have made the point a number of times today, during my speech, that I understand because I have experienced poverty in this rich city. I get it. That is why I continue to come into this place and give speeches and pass motions and advocate for more money, more investment and more resources for the people in Canberra who are doing it toughest. I am proud to do that, and I will continue to do that. And I will continue to annoy all of my ministerial colleagues from both parties with email after email, letter after letter, every time I see a shortcoming in this government’s approach to looking after Canberra’s most vulnerable. I will continue to do that.

Similarly, I have written to my federal government colleagues asking them to continue to agitate with their federal government colleagues for a rise in income support payments. If the Canberra community gets anything out of this debate this afternoon, it will be that the Canberra Liberals will always point out the flaws in the ACT government, as they are obliged to do as an opposition, but they will do nothing else. They will not bring new policy to this place; this amendment is a recycled policy from the territory election that was not supported by the electorate. They will not write to their federal government counterparts and ask them to immediately raise Canberrans out of poverty with real money so that they can pick themselves up by the bootstraps and support themselves and not rely heavily on the community sector, which, as we have already discussed today, is stretched beyond means.

It is frustrating because there are too many Canberrans doing it too tough at the moment. There are members of this place who would waste the one sitting day that was scheduled in the middle of a lockdown. The Canberra Liberals would waste the opportunity to put all of the most pressing issues faced by this city to a debate and to a vote; they could not bring themselves to say that, yes, Dominic Perrottet is right, the New South Wales Liberals are right: poor people do not have enough money.

Mrs Jones: We are supporting your motion.

MR DAVIS: Mrs Jones, I think you know well that I am responding to Mrs Kikkert’s comments in the debate, as is my prerogative in the closing remarks. In the remaining


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