Page 155 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022

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targeted information to people who are in at-risk groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, our multicultural community, seniors, people with disability and others who otherwise might miss out on information about how they can stay safe and how they can remain socially connected. We have also provided resources to support NDS in workforce management for the disability sector—(Time expired.)

MR DAVIS: Minister, what is your vision for a full social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic?

MS DAVIDSON: Gosh! I only have two minutes! The research shows that what works best is where social recovery and community recovery is community-driven but government-supported. So what we are doing is some cross-directorate work led by the Community Services Directorate to work with the community to design a plan that can also be a template for future crises. We know that this will not be the last time that Canberra goes through some really difficult experiences and needs to recover as a community afterwards. So we will be working with the community and across all directorates to make sure that what we are doing is really genuinely community driven but is well supported by government.

MS CLAY: Minister, what support and encouragement are we giving to community groups to support their roles in rebuilding connection and ending isolation?

MS DAVIDSON: I did mention in my earlier answer that we have provided some support to community organisations to get information out to people who are at risk of missing out on that information at the moment. That includes people in our at-risk communities with disability, seniors, the multicultural community, Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and people experiencing homelessness. Quite a bit of work has been put into making sure that those community sector organisations that have relationships of trust with those communities can get the right information to them at the right time.

We also, though, have a range of grants that are available to organisations in the community that can help. So funding has been made available through seniors and veterans grants, which closed for applications on 1 February, and there will be a specific focus on how organisations receiving that grant funding can enable better community connection and reduce social isolation for those people. Disability inclusion grants also include funding for organisations that are making their on-line services more accessible, and that will help people to stay connected if they are in isolation because of their disability. Those grant applications close on 14 February.

There is also the technology upgrade fund, which supports more NGOs to work effectively in a largely digital world—such as upgrades for hardware or software, getting their staff trained or providing equipment to people who are at risk of digital exclusion. So, for people who are having to stay at home more at the moment, the ACT government is doing quite a lot of work to try to keep those people socially connected.

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