Page 2209 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2022

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participate in the transition, and reap the financial benefits from lower energy and fuel costs, while at the same time creating jobs in our community.

Community support

We also recognise community sector organisations are crucial in supporting the diverse needs of people across our community. This pandemic is highlighting how challenging times affect some in our community much more than others.

This budget provides more than $230 million for new initiatives to improve community support, social inclusion and safety.

This includes $24 million for new or expanded programs and actions to prevent and respond to sexual assault and to family and domestic violence. I thank the Deputy Chief Minister for the extensive work she has undertaken across government, with ministerial colleagues and with stakeholders to take action to prevent and respond to sexual assault and sexual violence.

Through the budget, we are also: funding the establishment the independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner; investing in measures to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system; delivering support for people with variations in sex characteristics; and providing additional indexation funding across the community sector.

Jobs and skills

Jobs and skills are going to be critical over the next four years. Through this budget, we are making longer term investments to strengthen our labour market.

Around $126.3 million in funding will be provided in 2022 for apprenticeships, traineeships and other vocational education activities, including through the User Choice and Skilled Capital programs, and total recurrent funding for skills and training in 2022-23 will be more than $180 million.

These investments will be critical to make now for the long term security and strength of the ACT labour market.

Working with the federal government

Since 21 May, a lot has changed in this country. There is a very important opportunity to work with the new federal government, and it is providing a renewed way forward for many ACT projects and policies.

If the first two months are any indication, there are significant opportunities for the territory to productively engage on issues that have been stalled for close to a decade.

With a federal government that has an ambitious climate agenda, a federal government that will return to evidence-based infrastructure investment and a federal

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