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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4124 ..

We are taking a break over Christmas. I hope everyone in Canberra gets a break soon, too. I personally am looking forward to recharging and coming back next year and getting stuck into some of the problems, big and small. But I think we all need to rest and refresh before we do that.


MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (5.21): It has been a challenging year by any measure. COVID has challenged everyone. It has been incredibly tough.

As we come into the final month of the year, I think the signs are encouraging for our community recovery and our economic recovery. The ACT is on track to be the most vaccinated jurisdiction in the world. This is an achievement all Canberrans should be proud of. It is for this reason that we have been able to safely emerge from lockdown, ease public health restrictions and have a much better summer, as we foreshadowed.

I want to take this opportunity to recognise the efforts of the ACT public service throughout this year. I cannot name every single public servant—we would be here until 2022 if I did!—but I particularly want to acknowledge our Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, the Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Vanessa Johnston, and their offices; our frontline healthcare workers and staff; the public health contact tracing and operations teams; the quarantine and exemptions team; the vaccination program communication teams; the Health Protection Service; the public information coordination centre; the digital solutions and strategic infrastructure divisions; the health emergency coordination centre; and the many staff right across the public service who stepped up to provide support as we needed to surge in our response to the pandemic, including the finance, policy, planning and commissioning teams, who worked so closely with non-government organisation partners to deliver services through this year.

I also wish to thank the clinical health emergency coordination centre, which was initially led by Bernadette McDonald and is now being led by Dave Peffer; ACT Pathology, with all those hundreds of thousands of tests; and the Check In CBR team, who, obviously, have been very busy throughout the year.

I thank the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, in particular the Head of Service, Kathy Leigh, and her office; and our coordinator-general for non-health-related COVID response matters, Leesa Croke. I thank the intergovernmental relations team. This may seem a little odd, Madam Speaker, but there have been, I think, 60 national cabinet meetings; that is a lot of intergovernmental support required, and I thank the team. I thank the economic development directorate’s business support team and everyone in ACT Treasury who has been involved in developing multiple economic recovery packages and two budgets in calendar year 2022.

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