Page 3769 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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and responsive supports already in place across a span of arenas, including building resilience through physical and mental health services; providing access to services and targeted supports for people experiencing vulnerabilities; supporting community cohesion and resilience; and providing economic support.

This new plan builds on the work of the ACT Recovery Plan 2021-22, to ensure continued and holistic recovery supports are readily available for all Canberrans. Now is the time to focus on our recovery efforts and on how we can continue to live in a world in which COVID remains, while building and maintaining our social and economic life. Recovery is an important stage of any emergency event, providing essential support for individuals and organisations to rebuild and reconnect with their community. It can also open opportunities for the economy to prosper.

Best practice recovery begins at the same time as an emergency event occurs. When COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency in the ACT in March 2020, government responded promptly by investing in a range of support programs. We have continued this commitment, and as we move forward in adapting to living with COVID-19 well into the future, our focus is on investment in initiatives which encourage Canberrans to be active participants in our community while also ensuring access to support services.

The ACT COVID-19 social recovery plan has been developed with input gathered from initiatives led by directorates across the ACT public service, including programs currently underway and those planned for the future. It reflects the wide range of responsive and tailored services available across the territory to ensure all aspects of social and economic life are supported as we emerge from COVID-19.

COVID has seen members of our community come together to support each other in many forms, from connecting with neighbours and those in our local communities to supporting local businesses. We have formed stronger bonds with fellow Canberrans over what has been a challenging period. Our focus remains on recovery. We are mindful that these challenges are not gone and that there is more work to be done.

As we continue to adapt to living with COVID-19, the 2022-23 budget has a significant focus on the investment needed to deliver services for all Canberrans now and into the future. It also invests funding for the development of a social recovery framework, which the ACT COVID-19 Social Recovery Plan 2022-23 sits under, to better understand priorities for individuals, the community sector and the broader community for social recovery following a disaster. This is important, as recovery is a process over the short, medium and long term. As we embark on developing the social recovery framework, we will use the lessons learned from the pandemic, and broader challenges faced over recent years, alongside the strong partnerships held with community partners, local businesses and industry.

Aligned with existing national frameworks and contemporary practices and principles of social recovery, the framework will guide and underpin social recovery planning and preparedness work in the ACT. The prolonged event, and the impacts of COVID-19 in the ACT and on a broader national and global level, will likely mean social and economic recovery will be longer term and will continue to require joint government and community collaborative efforts well into the future. Through the plan, these

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