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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2182 ..

team action plan outlines Housing ACT’s response in the event of an outbreak in a multi-unit complex and is updated regularly.

The programs that were developed and implemented increased the level of collaboration and innovation within the sector to improve outcomes for at-risk Canberrans and the community. COVID-19 has left a significant mark across Australia. The responses, programs and services highlighted today demonstrate that Canberra remains prepared to face the challenges and respond with the community at the centre of decision-making. As we continue with the lingering impact of the pandemic, we must build upon this progress so that all Canberrans have access to a safe and secure home. I present the following paper:

New programs to address homelessness in the ACT—Update—Ministerial statement, 3 August 2021.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (12.16): I thank Minister Vassarotti for outlining the ACT government’s plans to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in our city and the expansion of services at the Early Morning Centre, including meals for people in need. As the assistant minister for families and community services, I will provide some additional information about food relief services.

When a household is in housing stress, paying more than 30 per cent of their income in housing costs such as private rent or mortgage repayments, the risk of homelessness increases. For Canberrans who have no choice but to pay more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, food relief is a vital support.

A 2019 report by ACTCOSS, Food security, food assistance and the affordability of healthy food in Canberra, found that 3.6 per cent of Canberrans were living in a household that in the past 12 months had run out of food and not been able to afford to buy more. This is about half the number of people who were living in poverty in February this year and demonstrates the direct relationship that poverty has on food security. Cuts to JobKeeper and the completely inadequate rate of JobSeeker will have increased the number of Canberrans experiencing food security problems since February.

The Women’s Health Matters 2018 report on physical activity and healthy eating said that some women found food-bank services helped their household to eat healthily by having access to low-cost fruit and vegetables. Some of those accessing food-bank services include people experiencing insecure work, people with chronic health conditions who have additional medical expenses and reduced ability to earn income, and people who do not have a permanent residency visa. One of the women who participated in the research for this report said:

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