Page 817 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2023

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years to improve the accessibility and affordability of abortion services in the ACT. This will enable women and people who can become pregnant to make decisions about their health care based on what is best for them and their bodies, without being influenced by financial barriers.

The ACT government is committed to improving women’s reproductive health across the board, releasing Maternity in Focus: The ACT Public Maternity System Plan 2022-2032 in June of last year. This 10-year plan for public maternity services in the ACT provides a holistic approach to maternity system reform, underpinned by a focus on individualised care, equity and evidence. More than $12 million in the 2022-23 ACT budget has been invested to improve maternity services.

The safety of women and girls, both at home and in public spaces, is also a priority for the ACT government. Safety is of even greater concern for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women with disability, culturally and linguistically diverse women and LGBTIQA+ women, who often face additional discrimination and barriers to their participation. In October 2022, I jointly launched the next National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32 with my fellow ministers who are responsible for women and women’s safety. We will now continue engaging closely to develop the action plans which will implement our commitments under the national plan and develop targets and actions which are inclusive, meaningful and measurable.

In 2022 the ACT government also worked closely with the Domestic Violence Prevention Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group to respond to recommendations from the We Don’t Shoot Our Wounded… report. This report is important in continuing to guide the ACT government in its efforts to prevent and respond to family violence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, men and children. The reference group identified recommendation 4 as a priority action for implementation, which calls for the establishment of a specific service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women where a range of legal, advocacy, practical and healing activities can be delivered.

In February 2023, the ACT government commenced an open grant process to identify a suitable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisation to deliver a specific service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have experienced domestic and family violence. I am pleased to have reached this milestone in partnership with the reference group and I thank them for their guidance and leadership in this work. The ACT government will continue to be guided by the Domestic Violence Prevention Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group to progress further work in implementing recommendations from the We Don’t Shoot Our Wounded… report.

As well as safety at home, we are working to improve women and girls’ safety and perceptions of safety in our public spaces. As part of the Second Action Plan, the ACT government has developed Gender Sensitive Urban Design Guidelines, with extensive and varied consultation carried out in 2022. The guidelines will help planners, engineers, architects, landscape designers and approval bodies when designing urban spaces to make a practical difference to the lives of women and girls, gender diverse groups and vulnerable people in Canberra.


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