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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4023 ..

that this inquiry, which is an extremely important one for our community, was conducted in a professional, thorough and meaningful way.

I also thank the staff who supported the work of the committee—secretary David Monk and senior research officer Miona Ikeda, and the many staff who work behind the scenes to make everything happen. It has been an incredibly challenging time during lockdown. To be able to overcome not only the technical aspects but also engage with stakeholders and community members during a very stressful and difficult time is, of course, no mean feat. In particular, to David and Miona, thank you for your support, your professionalism and your guidance on this inquiry.

Thank you also to all witnesses that appeared before the committee to provide evidence, as well as those who took time to prepare written submissions. I am proud to say that every written submission and public hearing was taken into account in deliberations over the final report. I thank this Assembly for the opportunity to chair such an important inquiry.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

COVID-19 pandemic response—update

Ministerial statement

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (10.13): I rise to provide my final update for 2021 to the Legislative Assembly on the COVID-19 situation in the ACT and the actions being taken by the government to protect the health and wellbeing of Canberrans.

I am sure we all agree that the last 12 months have been incredibly challenging for the ACT community. We started this year in the hope that the COVID-19 situation would ease, and we end in much the same way, hopeful, with world-leading vaccination rates but on guard for further risks to our community.

Just this week, we have had a sharp reminder of the ongoing threat COVID-19 presents to our community, with the need to implement precautionary measures rapidly in response to the new Omicron variant of concern, including travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for international travellers.

However, as the summer holiday season approaches and we look back on the challenges we have faced together through this singular year, I want to thank Canberrans for their tremendous efforts in keeping our city safe and strong. It is thanks to our caring and resilient community that we have transitioned relatively smoothly out of lockdown and into a COVID-normal environment.

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to advise that the local COVID-19 situation continues to be stable, with our dedicated health officials responding to a low number of new daily cases. While the risk of COVID-19 is still present in the ACT, we remain in a strong position.

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