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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 1024 ..

Multicultural Advisory Council has called for. I hope and trust that she and her colleagues will engage with and promote this important discussion because it is about the future of who we are as a community.

Finally, in commending this appropriation to the Assembly, I want to take the opportunity to warmly thank our multicultural communities for how they have responded to and led during the pandemic. Whether in partnership with government or off their own bat, our multicultural communities have provided such important connections and assistance during a difficult time. I can speak on behalf of all members of the government in saying how much we appreciate it. As we know so well, our diversity is our strength. 

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (6.22): The ACT government is committed to creating a home for all by strengthening social housing, reducing homelessness and ensuring that our services are integrated, so that Canberrans have stable, secure and safe homes.

Over the next four years the ACT government will continue to address homelessness in our community. This includes critical investment of $18 million to expand the capacity of specialist homelessness services. The challenges of the bushfires and the pandemic have resulted in an increase in both the number of people and the complexity of need in accessing homelessness services in the ACT. Through this time the ACT government has continued to provide specialist homelessness funding to assist people who have become homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless.

The 2020-21 ACT budget commits $2.6 million to expand the capacity of specialist homelessness services. A total of $300,000 over the next two years will fund the expansion of the Early Morning Centre to a seven-day-a-week service, meaning that Canberrans at risk of experiencing homelessness will have weekend access to food, shelter, health and social services. As the health pandemic continues, this budget invests $3 million in economic stimulus funding to support homelessness and domestic and family violence services to meet the increased demand due to the effects of COVID-19.

The ACT government has also stepped up to address the funding shortfalls from the federal government, providing $700,000 to ACT Shelter to continue its systemic advocacy role in the territory over the next four years. This budget continues to fund COVID-19 homelessness responses, including the Winter Lodge, MacKillop House and Axial Housing First services. All of the services provide specialist homelessness support to people in need. I commend the support that these services have provided to our community. The Winter Lodge provided accommodation to 121 men from May to October 2020; MacKillop House accommodated 48 women, some with children; and Axial Housing successfully housed 29 rough sleepers.

This budget invests $450,000 over two years for OneLink to increase the capacity to manage emergency accommodation and supports to assist Canberrans who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This includes the client support fund, which

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