Page 175 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022

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Tenants have often spoken to our office about how professional and responsive the team at ACT Property Group generally are. It is important to foster a relationship of mutual respect and collegiality between community services and the ACT Property Group, a condition that is made much easier if both sides have adequate resources and clear expectations of equity and inclusion. In this way, everyone can work together to work out what kind of community facilities are needed, where, and the amenities required.

Among the broader communities there is also a fantastic opportunity in the promised neighbourhood democracy program, within the parliamentary and governing agreement. This will empower local communities to decide how to allocate funds within their suburbs for what may be facilities or other upgrades that they need for the organisations that serve them. I look forward to seeing this particular initiative progress during this term.

To summarise, the Greens want the community sector to be able to occupy buildings that are energy efficient, comfortable, accessible and affordable, whether managed by ACT Property Group or other landlords. I urge my colleagues to fight for the investment and the imagination to make sure that this happens. Ms Orr’s motion is a significant step in the right direction, and I commend it to the Assembly.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (3.11): I thank Ms Orr for raising the issue of community facilities and the important role they play in bringing people together.

It was particularly nice to hear Ms Orr talk about the Pearce Community Centre, where I previously worked in a community organisation. I was on the Pearce Community Centre committee when they were planning their community gardens. The little street library there is a really good place to sit with a coffee that has been made by the Sharing Places baristas, and they will soon have a liberty swing for people with disability, too.

All Canberrans benefit from accessible, quality community facilities in their local area. They offer services that support common needs, such as parenting groups, peer support meetings, sports, and a place of employment for many of the ACT’s community sector workers. It is also important to note that community facilities are integral to the inclusion and participation of people in our community who access specialised non-government supports.

As the minister with responsibility for disability, seniors, veterans and mental health, I recognise the many essential services that take place in community facilities. Disability access and inclusion are integral to ensuring that everyone can benefit from our community facilities. The ACT government Disability Inclusion Grants program provides an opportunity for community groups, organisations and small businesses to apply for financial support to enable the organisations to become more inclusive and accessible for people with disability.

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