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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 680 ..

apologised personally to a number of those that have contacted him. He has accepted that what he said was not the kindest thing to say, that the words were hurtful. There is not much more he can do except to continue to apologise and hope that people take that for what it was.

His work in engaging the Canberra community in the decision-making of government is absolutely vital, and that work will continue to occur alongside traditional media. It needs to happen alongside traditional media, and that is why the amendment that has been moved by Mr Rattenbury today is so appropriate: that this Assembly does affirm its support for freedom of the press and acknowledges the important role of journalists and all forms of media in our democracy. The Canberra community has always judged the government on its ability to communicate to everybody in our community on all kinds of issues, particularly around social justice, equality, tax, climate change, economic reform, and they continue to do that.

For the benefit of the Assembly, I feel I do need to clarify a couple of areas in which the ACT government, led by the Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, has shown its ability to be a national leader on key issues of social justice and economic reform, not least in areas benefiting seniors, where they experience disadvantage. I want to focus on family safety.

In 2016, under the leadership of the Chief Minister, the government refocused its efforts to combat domestic and family violence with a comprehensive reform agenda. We picked up the royal commission recommendations that no other jurisdiction has implemented and are now starting to see results, which is another testament to the Chief Minister’s leadership. The government’s safer families work extends to all corners of the community. It is an agenda that seeks to engage the whole community in the response and ultimately achieve zero tolerance for domestic and family violence in the ACT.

We know that this issue of domestic, family and intimate partner violence does not discriminate and impacts many in our community: children, their parents, families, grandparents, work colleagues, friends and neighbours. The government’s reform agenda is built around five themes: leadership and cultural change; prevention and early intervention; information-sharing; collaboration and integration; and transparency and accountability. Through this work already we have seen many achievements that are making a real difference in how we tackle this community-wide issue.

Another very clear example of leadership from the Chief Minister is housing and homelessness. The Canberra community, through the government, supports housing and related services for tens of thousands of Canberrans of all ages and backgrounds. We maintain the highest proportion of social housing per capita in Australia and, again under the Chief Minister’s leadership, we are delivering the largest public housing renewal program in Canberra’s history. Members may also have noticed that in the new census data released last week the ACT bucked the national trend with a decline in both the rate and number of homeless people in Canberra.

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