Page 375 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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At the beginning of my statement I noted that we have now observed three significant milestones: the first anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccination administered in the ACT; the second anniversary of the Public Health Emergency Declaration; and the 800th patient treated in the COVID-19 clinic at the surge centre in Garran.

I am sure we can all agree that it has been an extraordinary two years. Our community has been faced with unprecedented challenges. Governments, communities and individuals—particularly young people and people who are more vulnerable to COVID-19—have been forced to make changes and sacrifices that we would never have considered or thought possible before 2020. We have faced these challenges together. Canberrans have displayed incredible adaptability, strength and compassion.

I want to acknowledge that these milestones represent countless hours of hard work on the part of our public health team and healthcare workers, who have been on the front lines of our COVID response since the very beginning. The government expresses its sincere thanks to every one of these workers for their invaluable service. We would not be in the good position we are in today without your hard work and dedication to the community.

There is good reason to be cautiously optimistic as the ACT continues to move towards a new normal. The government continues to focus on supporting the Canberra community as we learn to live with COVID by being COVID-smart. Thank you again to Canberrans for your continued efforts to protect the health of our community. I present the following papers:

Status of the Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19—Chief Health Officer Report 24—March 2022, dated 8 March 2022.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)—ACT Government response—Update—Ministerial statement, 22 March 2022.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Economy—government priorities

Ministerial statement

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (10.32): Madam Speaker, it has been two years since we entered a period of uncertainty like no other in our lifetimes. Governments across the world—national and subnational—launched huge public investment programs, from wage subsidies and business support programs through to paid pandemic leave schemes. Central banks engaged in monetary policy settings that, for the most part, had only really been set out in textbooks and economic journals. It is fair to say that the word “unprecedented” has been used to within an inch of its life in the past couple of years, but for good reason.

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