Page 2906 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022
MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (10.25): I want to note that on Monday 3 January 2022 the ACT experienced a very significant supercell storm, with hail up to three centimetres in diameter. I want to make note of some of the work that was done in order to support our community through that event.
A community information hub was set up at the ACT Rural Fire Service Molonglo brigade station from 5 pm on Wednesday 5 January, and it opened every day from 11 am until 7 pm until Sunday 9 January. During that period of time, 600 members of the community attended in order to do things like seek information and charge devices—and we are not just talking about mobile phones and things like that, which are incredibly important to keep charged during an event like that; there was also someone who needed their electric wheelchair charged and we were able to support them with that. They disposed of rubbish—there were 1½ skips of spoiled food that had to be taken away. They picked up ice—we went through 752 bags of ice. We provided people with food and hygiene hampers, and there were also washers and dryers made available for people during that event.
Some of the people who needed to come into that community information hub also just needed a place to come and talk about what they were going through. So even if they did not necessarily need to specifically pick up ice or do some of those practical things, they still needed to maintain that human connection and talk through their experience.
There was also a lot of work done by Access Canberra, EPSDD and TCCS during and in the follow-up after the event. There were 870 calls to Access Canberra from 3 to 7 January. It was an enormous workload during an already very busy period. There were 1,023 calls for assistance to the SES. There were around 4,250 cases to be dealt with for EPSDD and TCCS for things like trees that had come down.
All of this additional workload has a really big impact on people in CSD, TCCS and EPSDD, and coming on the back of everything that we had experienced during COVID-19 and the bushfires of the summer of 2019-2020. They had an enormous amount of work to do, and a lot of staff were not able to take a break. That really does have an impact on people’s wellbeing.
The ACT has a social recovery plan following major events like this. I tabled an update on our work on that social recovery plan in the September sitting period. I am hoping to speak about it during the November sitting period and have a conversation with our counterparts in the Assembly about how we go about creating an ACT social recovery framework that works for everyone.
CSD’s legislated social recovery response includes things like managing and delivering social recovery services during and following an emergency. That includes things like emergency accommodation, food, water, clothing, emergency finance, and activating and operating evacuation centres. They also lead interjurisdictional and national liaison on social recovery for the ACT. I would like to thank all those staff in CSD who have been working so hard to make sure that we are as well prepared as we