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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 1019 ..

previous annual budgeted digital communities grant funding has also been added to the first year of the tech upgrade fund and, therefore, $478,000 is available for distribution by June 2021.

The guidelines were prepared following the consultation with the community sector that clearly identified the range of needs by individuals and large organisations. I understand that there has been strong interest in this new initiative and I look forward to sharing with you some of the projects that will be funded. The fund aligns with the ACT’s digital strategy and will enable organisations to purchase suitable IT equipment and software, access training and support, upgrade internet and cloud-based systems, access specialist services and help those in need to ensure that people on low incomes continue to have adequate access to IT equipment and services and that—

Mr Davis: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Mr Davis: Can I ask you to draw attention to the fact that there has not been a moment yet when the minister has been speaking that she has been heard in silence. I am sitting on the other side of the chamber and I am finding it very difficult to follow along.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. I ask members to halt their conversations and allow the minister to be heard. Thank you, Mr Davis.

MS DAVIDSON: This will ensure that people on low incomes continue to have adequate access to IT equipment and services and that community organisations are well resourced to support people in our community most in need. This delivers on both ACT Labor and ACT Greens election commitments to better support our community sector and reduce digital exclusion in the community, and it demonstrates our collaborative approach both to government and to working with the community to better support social inclusion, including online.

The government has been delivering on the commitments that it made to support the community across Canberra through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canberra Relief Network, which was initially coordinated by UnitingCare Kippax from April 2020, was handed over to Canberra Region Community Services in September. They have been working with government to coordinate the distribution of food and essentials to individuals and families impacted by the pandemic. The 2020-21 funding package to Canberra Region Community Services is more than $1.1 million. The government agreed to extend operations until 30 June 2021 and has agreed to pay the costs of the use of the Fitzroy Pavilion at EPIC for an additional $52,000.

While the ACT moves into a recovery phase from the COVID pandemic and the COVID vaccine is rolled out, support and timely information for older Canberrans remain important to the ACT government. We have engaged with the older people in the community directly and through the Council on the Ageing ACT, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing and other key stakeholders for them to share information

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