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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 601 ..

MADAM SPEAKER: Do not respond to interjections, Minister.

MS VASSAROTTI: In my previous answers I spoke to a number of investments and strategies we are investing in to increase biodiversity, increase tree canopy and work to make this a more livable city and protect our living infrastructure.

Health—COVID-19 vaccination rollout

DR PATERSON: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, can you please advise the Assembly on how the ACT government is supporting the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Dr Paterson for her question. The ACT government is continuing to deliver a comprehensive public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognise the critical importance of protecting our health workforce and those most vulnerable in the community, and have invested to ensure that they are well placed in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the ACT.

We are working in partnership with the Australian government to deliver a safe, effective and targeted COVID-19 vaccination program. Phase 1a of the ACT’s vaccination program commenced on 22 February 2021 at the Garran surge centre. To support the safe and efficient delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination program, the ACT government committed $19 million in this year’s budget, plus $4½ million in capital funding, to progress with the rollout of the vaccination program for Canberrans. This funding supports the operation of the surge centre and future sites, nursing and medical staff, and the cost of consumable medical items.

This funding is in addition to approximately $39 million the government is investing to boost our COVID-19 public health response and ensure that our health system and public health response can continue to protect our community. This funding will deliver additional clinical resources, personal protective equipment supplies and dedicated COVID-19 communications resources to ensure that the public receives factual and accessible information.

In light of the rapidly evolving situation in Brisbane, the effectiveness and flexibility of our public health response is putting the ACT in a very strong position to continue protecting the health and safety of our community.

DR PATERSON: Minister, can you please update the Assembly on the progress of the rollout to date in the ACT?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Dr Paterson for the supplementary. As I said, the ACT has been active in supporting the Australian government and working closely with them in the national rollout of the vaccine and the rollout here in the ACT.

To date, more than 7,000 quarantine, border and frontline healthcare workers who are at the greatest risk of exposure have received their first dose. Of these, almost 2,000 have received the required two doses of the vaccine to get to the full level of

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