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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1319 ..


They were the first feminist women’s health service in Australia to be funded under what was then the National Women’s Health Policy. They have demonstrated a remarkable ability to keep building on what has come before, and that is what makes them who they are today.

Their 2009 and 2016 surveys into ACT women’s health built on Professor Dorothy Broom’s 1996 survey about what women value about women’s health centres. We saw this again in their 2019 research on why women value the ACT Women’s Health Service. Their work, their research and their reports have been a valuable resource for community advocates to quote in submissions and to help policymakers understand what is needed for Canberra women.

They have demonstrated again this ability to continue to work on the issues that still matter to us, but to evolve those ideas and the way we talk about them to move with the community conversation. For example, their Reclaim the Night involvement extended into supporting the Summer of Respect. Their work on abortion law reform moved into work for exclusion zones around clinics and now making sure that services are accessible. Their “Invisible bars: the stories behind the stats” report was followed up 10 years later with the Stories of ACT women in prison, 10 years after the opening of AMC.

They have always advocated for an understanding of the social determinants of women’s health: income, housing, and experience of violence, for example. Their work is intersectional. It always includes the voices and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women with disabilities, culturally diverse women, and women in the LGBTIQA community. One of my favourites is their Women of Canberra project. It celebrates women’s diversity of experiences and what we love about being women in this city.

Their name has changed over the years from the Canberra Women’s Health Centre to the Women’s Centre for Health Matters to Women’s Health Matters, but everything has always been centred around women’s experiences, women’s health and working within a feminist framework. Today, I want to say thank you for your work, for understanding and celebrating women’s lives, and for always understanding that women’s health matters. Happy birthday.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 5.23 pm.


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