Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 1014 ..
On the surface this budget seems to be doing more of the same—lots of talk and inclusion and strategies. My job will be to make sure that this government delivers on its promises.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.47): I rise to speak on the Appropriation Bill in relation to women and seniors. I start by acknowledging in this, as I have before, Minister Berry’s genuine interest and passion about the welfare of women, especially in the current climate surrounding women and their safety. I thank members in the chamber for their tripartisanship in the last sitting when we had a number of motions relating to women.
Supporting women in the budget means providing funding for a range of community organisations that assist women, often in very difficult circumstances. Those organisations are doing a fantastic job. They range from Beryl Women, Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service, and Women’s Centre for Health Matters. A whole range of different organisations do fantastic and very important work. I am very supportive of more funding for these types of organisations, most especially for front-line domestic violence and rape crisis services.
We have heard a lot recently about the grave threat to women from domestic and family violence. It is a stain on our society that we all need to do more to address, and it will take quite some time to achieve that change. I know that Minister Berry is passionate about this, which makes it even more disappointing when we heard recently about this government choosing to delay the release of the review into the Family Violence Act. It is an abhorrent betrayal of the victims and families of victims affected by family violence.
The more support and funding that the government can provide to these important organisations, the better. The government has its own role to play, including in areas such as public housing and homelessness prevention. We have talked in this place before about a poverty task force and the gendered impact of poverty. We have talked about the fact that there are 2,500 people on the public housing waiting list. Women were disproportionately affected early in the COVID-19 pandemic, and more needs to be done to look at that in the longer term.
I appreciate that this government is trying to support women, but there is always more that we can do. I look forward to working with Minister Berry in the future on what we can work on together.
Now onto seniors. The 2020-21 budget demonstrates once again that seniors do not figure much for this government. I have been flat out trying to find a page of budget initiatives relating to seniors. There is the administration of ACT Seniors Card, where the government funds the Seniors Card, but the operation of and the issuing of cards is done by COTA ACT.
As Mr Hanson pointed out, we have seen diminishing interest in the veterans portfolio. When so many people in the ACT are ageing and where so many of our residents are veterans and their families who have chosen to make Canberra home after they have