Page 1068 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 3 May 2022

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2021-22 High-Risk Weather Season (Bushfire and Storm)—Summary—Ministerial statement, Tuesday, 3 May 2022.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (11.23): I would like to echo Minister Gentleman’s thanks to our emergency services staff and volunteers, led by the ACT SES, for their work in supporting our west Belconnen community in the aftermath of the 3 January supercell storm.

It is not just in the moment of the emergency that ACT government is there for people in our community during an extreme weather event. The clean-up from this storm required a response from TCCS and ACT Parks and Conservation to literally thousands of calls for help. With power outages, there were many households who needed emergency relief.

ACT government established a community information hub in Higgins from 5 to 9 January, providing charging stations for electronic devices; ice for eskies; help to dispose of food waste; showers and washer-dryers; and connection to local food pantries and the Canberra Relief Network food and hygiene hampers and information.

What we have learned through past events such as the 2019-20 bushfires and public health restrictions in 2020 and 2021 informed the Community Services Directorate’s response in January 2022.

I would also like to note that the supercell storm of January 2022 came in the wake of more than two years of government and community sector support for those people in our community most impacted by bushfires, smoke, hail and the ongoing COVID pandemic. Over a period of years, these events have barely left a moment to draw breath between disasters. Our entire community is exhausted, and that includes frontline workers in health, community services, emergency services and city services. In the midst of all of this, they have still found time to support our New South Wales neighbours through the recent floods, and they are thinking ahead to the next high-risk weather season.

I would like to thank all of the staff and volunteers at Community Services Directorate and VolunteeringACT for their emergency relief work in January 2022. These extreme weather events are distressing, and we will see more of these in our future as a result of climate change. But we are taking every opportunity to learn from these experiences so that we can work together as a community to protect those most at risk and reduce the impact on all of us.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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