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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2642 ..

It should be said that a well-funded, well-led and well-supported community sector is not an end in itself. That is not the only measure that matters, as important as it is. It is so crucial to achieve this, to ensure that the people who rely upon the sector’s services continue to be able to access the supports that make a real difference in their lives, whether it be advice on managing their long-term condition or seeking some peer support in dealing with life’s challenges. We all deserve to live a life of dignity, to be able to exercise choice and control in our lives, and to work towards a better future. The community sector is a crucial partner in enabling this, helping to create a better Canberra for all of us.

The pandemic has continued, and continues, to teach us things about our society. The virus has played an important role in holding up a mirror to aspects of our society, to question how much we value our essential workers, including our cleaners, supermarket workers and care workers, and how much we tolerate insecure work and insecure housing. To address Mr Davis’s motion specifically, it has taught us about the value of the community sector in addressing these issues.

As we move through the current outbreak, we need to consider how we address the long-lasting economic and mental health impacts of this pandemic in the important work of community recovery. We will win this not by fighting what we hate but by saving what we love. We will take on board the lessons from recent times about responding to a crisis. We will apply them in our future planning for our human services system, with directorates working collaboratively with each other and with our valued NGO partners to continue supporting the life of our Canberra community day in, day out. This is a crucial aspect of our work as we build a better normal.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (4.21): I move the following amendment that has been circulated in my name:

Omit paragraph (4)(d), substitute:

“(d) develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with the causes and symptoms of poverty in Canberra by establishing a poverty task force; and

(e) report back to the Assembly on the above by 10 November 2021.”.

I will start by thanking Mr Davis for moving this motion today. Before speaking directly to the amendment, I wish to speak to the motion in general, which the Canberra Liberals fully support in principle. The motion notes the vital role that community sector organisations have been playing during the current outbreak of COVID-19. That is true, but it is likewise true that the community sector was playing a vital role in our territory long before this pandemic.

For far too long, far too many Canberrans have faced disadvantage of many kinds, including sometimes crippling obstacles. It has been the community sector that has in so many cases made the difference between coping and falling through the cracks, between barely surviving and thriving.

Mr Davis’s motion repeatedly states that the community sector has been helping the ACT government to respond to problems arising from the current outbreak. The

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