Page 816 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2023

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Midwives want to work there, people who are pregnant want to give birth there and it will free up our hospitals for those who really need them. So I am very much looking forward to seeing the detailed government response to this petition.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Women—status of women and girls in the ACT

Ministerial statement

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (10.17): Madam Speaker, as Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, I welcome the opportunity to acknowledge International Women’s Day, which occurred on 8 March, by providing a statement to the Assembly on the status of women and girls in the ACT. I am tabling a longer statement which provides a more substantial overview, but in this shorter statement I would like to reflect specifically on some of the challenges and achievements of 2022.

While all women experience disadvantage in our community, all women are different and experience disadvantage differently. For example, trans women, queer women and women with disability experience additional and varied types of discrimination. It is essential that we acknowledge the additional challenges faced by these groups and work together to overcome them. In line with this, I would like to acknowledge that throughout this statement when I refer to women and girls, I am using these terms inclusively, referring to everybody who describes themselves as a woman or girl.

In a few months, the ACT government will release the Third and final Action Plan under our current ACT Women’s Plan 2016 to 2026, following the completion of the Second Action Plan at the end of 2022. The past seven years have seen a lot of change and a lot of challenges, particularly due to the impacts of COVID-19 in more recent times. But we have also seen a lot of tireless work from women in our community and those who support women in our community. I have been encouraged and inspired to see so many working with passion and determination toward the common purpose of improving opportunities and outcomes for women and girls in the ACT. Whether it be in supporting health and wellbeing, improving safety at home and in public spaces, providing greater affordable housing options to reduce homelessness, creating opportunities in a wider range of jobs, encouraging professional development, providing valuable services and programs, or other vital work to gain greater equality—together, we are driving change every day.

In 2022 there were some international events which many women and girls in our community found deeply discouraging in our efforts to achieve greater equality. In June of last year the Supreme Court in the United States of America overturned Roe v Wade, opening the door for individual US states to ban abortion outright. This demonstrated just how easily the rights we take for granted today can be taken away. It is important that we respond to these events by demonstrating our own commitment to ensuring Canberrans have access to safe, accessible and affordable abortion services. In line with this, the 2022-23 ACT budget includes $4.6 million over four

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