Page 20 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022

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The ACT also joined other state and territory governments in calling for the Commonwealth to reintroduce the JobKeeper and increased JobSeeker payments to provide a more suitable level of support during periods of heightened restrictions.

With high vaccination rates and restrictions easing, many Canberrans will be able to work and spend more time out in the community. As this occurs, the temporary assistance provided to assist households throughout the impacts of the ACT lockdown will be reviewed.

Additionally, the Assembly recently passed a resolution to review and update the ACT's Targeted Assistance Strategy, including current transport, utilities and rates concessions and deferrals, with potential measures to be considered as part of the 2022-23 Budget.

The ACT cannot address poverty alone. Social security payments are key to reducing the levels of poverty and housing stress faced by Canberrans. Unfortunately, the scale of the funding required to supplement social welfare is beyond the capacity of all state and territory governments due to the significant vertical fiscal imbalance ingrained in our federal system of government.

Through adequate policies on welfare payments, the Commonwealth Government has the capacity to provide choice and control in the lives of vulnerable Australians, and in a more direct manner than other government programs.

This is a view well supported by experts. A recent report by ACTCOSS highlighted that following the Commonwealth Government temporary increase of JobKeeper to $1,100 per fortnight in 2020-21, there was almost a 50 per cent reduction in the number of people living below the poverty line in Canberra. The ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods has also examined the impacts on poverty and housing stress during this time, and has highlighted that increasing social security payments had the greatest impact in lifting low-income households out of poverty.

The pandemic has shone a light on the capacity of the social welfare system to address poverty, and the ACT is actively working with other states and territories to call for the Commonwealth Government to reinstate a suitable safety net that enables a decent standard of living.

Play spaces—Fadden Hills Pond—petition 27-21

By Mr Steel, Minister for Transport and City Services, dated 3 February 2022, in response to a petition lodged by Ms Lawder on 9 November 2021 concerning the Fadden Hills pond playground.

The response read as follows:

Dear Mr Duncan

Thank you for your letter of 9 November 2021 regarding petition 27-21, lodged by Ms Nicole Lawder MLA. The petition seeks the removal of the tower at Fadden Pond Playground, and its replacement with another useful piece of equipment.

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