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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 26 September 2019) . . Page.. 3988 ..

many aspects of health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is, I think, a particular area for that community.

In our culturally and linguistically diverse communities, it is equally apparent the triggers that can drive a sense of social isolation and loneliness for people—if they do not speak English at a level they feel comfortable with or perhaps do not know many other people in their community. Whilst we have rich multicultural communities here in Canberra, some of them are quite small and it can be difficult to make some of those connections.

Having moved overseas myself, I know that you are still perhaps in a dominant cultural group in some sense but it can be difficult to make new friendships. And if you come here not speaking the language, perhaps coming from a really different culture, that can be such a strong barrier to having social connection. That is something we need to be really mindful of.

One theory that I think is really important, which is being worked on at the moment and can play a part in addressing some of these issues, is the development of the wellbeing indicators that the Chief Minister is leading at the moment. This is a very positive development on a number of fronts but particularly in measuring things that are not traditionally measured in the economic sense but which are really important to people.

Certainly it would be worth thinking about how we measure levels of social inclusion or loneliness as a counter to that. Trying to measure the sorts of things which really matter in our community is, I think, a real opportunity when it comes to these wellbeing indicators. I certainly look forward to working on that program. I know that my directorates are thinking quite carefully, in the particular areas for which I have responsibility and for which I connect to those directorates, through how to think about the wellbeing indicators and how to start to measure some of those less tangible but nonetheless really important factors that the wellbeing indicators point to.

This topic today has been a really interesting one. I have appreciated the contributions by various members. The remarks Ms Lawder made about how these days people shop online, can do a whole lot of things online and perhaps never have a reason to leave their house are an interesting commentary as well on how our lives are increasingly being designed to enable that sense of isolation. I think these are challenges that, as a community, we need to reflect on. While some of these things are enormously convenient, personally I quite like going down to the shops to get my groceries, because you do actually bump into people, whether it is friends or people who you just sort of bump into over the bananas, and end up in one of those little social interactions that can lift the heart a little.

It has been an interesting discussion today, and I thank members for their contributions. It has left us all with some food for thought.

Discussion concluded.

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