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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2161 ..


has helped shape. In this spirit I am proud to present this petition and thank the Gungahlin Community Council for the work it has done in obtaining signatures to it.

I would like to note that petitions like this are a symptom of a diminution of trust. When the community does not have trust in the planning system, they have no choice but to resort to absolutes and call for all sales to stop. I support community members in their frustration, their disillusionment, their weariness and their exasperation in a system that has repeatedly failed them. As a community, we are facing a time imperative. As the final blocks are sold and built on, the door of opportunity closes. The door closes on our ability to craft a town centre that works for everyone and that provides a sense of place, employment, services, community and economic activity.

My motion, passed by this Assembly, forms just one block in helping rebuild that trust in the community by ensuring that future sales are more in line with community views. The Planning, Transport and City Services inquiry into Draft Variation 364 is also currently underway and is another block to rebuilding that trust. I hope that this petition gives the committee members food for thought about the opinions of Gungahlin residents and that, with one block after another, we rebuild that trust. If we do not, we are left with nothing but absolutes. Thank you.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

COVID-19 pandemic response—update

Ministerial statement

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (11.11): I rise to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation in the ACT and the plans, preparations and actions that the government continues to take to protect the health and wellbeing of Canberrans.

The COVID-19 situation across the country is constantly changing, and over the past month millions of Australians have been affected by travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders and clusters in their local regions. Fortunately, the situation in the ACT remains strong, with no new locally acquired cases and a high uptake of vaccination appointments. This is in large part thanks to the incredible efforts of our public health officials and the Canberra community right throughout this pandemic. So, while we continue to be well placed in our COVID-19 response, we cannot afford to become complacent.

The COVID-19 situation across Australia has changed significantly since my last update on 22 June 2021. We have seen outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria, as well as new locally acquired cases in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Each of these jurisdictions has tightened its public health restrictions and implemented stay-at-home orders in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The ACT government has been closely monitoring the situation in each jurisdiction, and our health and compliance teams have been working tirelessly to protect Canberra from any potential outbreak. This has generally involved


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