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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3654 ..

ceremonies, to providing incredible support to the community as part of the health response; dealing with the complexities of planning for the festival, which, as I mentioned, was well underway, with work right across government until we went into lockdown; and supporting evacuees from Afghanistan.

That is all in addition to driving this critical Welcoming Cities work and the multicultural recognition act and much more. It is pretty mind-blowing, and I am in awe of what they achieve. I want to give special thanks to them for their incredible work throughout this year. It is a real honour to be the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. I commend that part of the portfolio to the Assembly, Madam Speaker.

I am now delivering a speech on behalf of Ms Berry. I will share some of what the ACT budget delivers for women and children, including the prevention of domestic and family violence responses.

It is important to acknowledge that many of the issues facing women, children and families have additional and particular complexities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, issues that are rooted in the long-term impacts of colonialism. All of our responses must include both recognition and tailored responses to First Nations communities and must be community-led.

The ACT budget includes important investments that underpin the government’s vision for Canberra as a place where children are supported to thrive, where gender equity is achieved, and where everyone in the community recognises their role in preventing domestic and family violence.

Before I continue, I must take this opportunity on behalf of Minister Berry and myself to thank the many frontline workers who have continued to provide critical services throughout the lockdown in the challenging times of recent years. The commitment that the staff in these sectors have made to keeping families safe and supported is a real testament to their dedication, their professionalism and their expertise.

Madam Speaker, one of the key issues impacting women and children in the ACT is domestic, family and sexual violence. Domestic, family and sexual violence is not and will never be acceptable. This violence has negative consequences for us all: violating the human rights of those affected, reducing access to housing and employment, impairing children’s health and development, and harming not only our economy but also the very fabric of our community.

We also know that women are feeling the burden of the pandemic through impacts to their safety, especially through an increased risk of domestic and family violence. Front-line services have reported an increase in the level and complexity of incidents of domestic and family violence. Some people who were already experiencing violence have seen that violence increase. Some people have experienced violence for the first time.

The investments in this budget will help us respond to the impacts of COVID-19, to continue to fund existing services and develop new and sustainable ways of working

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