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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2605 ..

While we are not able to see environmental volunteers out right now, I am really pleased that we have been able to move to provide them with additional resources, including today’s announcement of $3.5 million to support the important work of organisations that are supporting environment volunteers. I am really looking forward to getting them out as soon as we can.

COVID-19—Condamine Court

MR PARTON: My question is, I imagine, to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. It relates to the recent cases of COVID transmission at Condamine Court. Last year’s Victorian wave very clearly showed us that any COVID transmissions at high and medium-density public housing complexes were extremely problematic and needed to be dealt with swiftly. An exasperated Emma Campbell from ACTCOSS was reported in the CityNews as saying:

It’s clear that we have not been listened to and that lessons from other jurisdictions have not been learned.

Why didn’t we learn from Victoria, and why were we so poorly prepared for the Condamine Court outbreak when it occurred?

MS VASSAROTTI: I thank the member for the question. In relation to the response to the COVID outbreak in two social housing sites in the ACT, I actually suggest that we were well prepared and we were able to get out on site and provide a multi-agency response very quickly. This was led by Health, and saw a range of services come together to provide a range of health, material aid and other support services. There were some bumps along the road. Certainly, as we were working with different parts of the sector, and different organisations were providing different types of services, it did take us a little bit of time to ensure that we were doing everything that we needed to do.

In terms of the work that Housing ACT did, in the first 48 hours of the outbreak, in order to support ACT Health and to ensure that clients were looked after, a dedicated hotline was opened—a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service for residents at Condamine—and at Ainslie Village, when it was also impacted. It was established and has been operating since Sunday, 22 August. Government and non-government organisations have worked together to ensure that food and services have been provided throughout the quarantine period. We have also had Directions working with other organisations to provide vaccinations, as the health minister has talked about.

In relation to the support that has been provided, it has been significant and it has been comprehensive. There have been times when clients, while we have been operating in really difficult and challenging circumstances, have been frustrated, and services have been able to provide additional support when needed. (Time expired.)

MR PARTON: Minister, why were residents told to fill out a grocery shopping list on the first night of the crisis, a list that was never collected, and why were residents left in the dark about food supplies for at least 24 hours?

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