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households in the territory—exactly the same households that we have been talking about. They are the householders that ACTCOSS has put the number on, and that Ms Lee referred to in her remarks.
We are already actively in the business of transferring tens of millions of dollars in income support, fee relief or concessions to those very households at a territory government level. Clearly, things like commonwealth rent assistance and the rates of other commonwealth statutory payments are fundamental for those people who rely on those payments in order to meet their costs of living. Lifting those payments lifts more people out of poverty. More people in employment receiving higher wages lifts more people out of poverty. So we know what we need to do.
I want to acknowledge three other important things. The commonwealth government’s increase to the childcare subsidy, and its further plans to make childcare more accessible, is particularly important for single-parent families, providing them with opportunities to work more and earn more, and to lift more single-parent families out of poverty.
For the first time in its 75 year history, we have seen a fall in the maximum cost of general scripts under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, providing more assistance there. And the largest indexation increases to pensions in more than a decade and the largest indexation increases to welfare payments in more than three decades kicked in on 20 September this year, reflecting the fact that we are in a period of higher inflation. So, across the ACT government supports, and those three important initiatives from the commonwealth—noting that it still needs to do more on the level, of rent assistance in particular, which is an important discussion point that needs to be raised—practical things can and should be done. They are the sorts of things that we would be contributing towards this Senate committee and its national inquiry with exactly the same terms of reference as has been proposed. We also commit to continuing our program of measures to support low-income households to reduce their costs of living.
My amendment is comprehensive. It outlines what the government is currently doing and what we intend to do in the future. I commend it to the Assembly.
MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (3.49): I rise in support of the Chief Minister’s amendment. In doing so, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the opportunity to speak to the lived experience of people living in poverty in this city. I do so on behalf of the 9.5 per cent of my constituents who live in households with a total household income of less than $650 a week. I do so as somebody who has lived much of my life in poverty, and I do so as somebody who represents a global political movement that is committed to the pillar of social justice and, therefore, by extension, the global elimination of poverty.
I appreciate Ms Lee’s endorsement of the work of my federal colleague Senator Larissa Waters, and the committee mentioned by the Chief Minister. This was an Australian Greens federal election commitment—to initiate a national inquiry into the rising rates of poverty in Australia and the rising cost of living. It is chaired by Senator Janet Rice, our spokesperson for social services and chair of the Community Affairs References Committee. I have confidence that, under her leadership,