Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2649 ..

clause 2 of Mr Davis’s motion. I can assure Mr Davis and the Assembly that these concerns have been the subject of much consideration and engagement between the government and the sector.

In addition to the increase to base funding for contracted partners that has been announced today, further work is underway to understand the full costs of ongoing non-government organisation service delivery through a sustainability review being undertaken in partnership between the Community Services Directorate and ACOSS. The review is due for completion in late 2021 and I do look forward to receiving the report.

In my final moments, I sincerely thank all our community sector workers who work so hard every day.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (4.45): I do confirm that the ACT Greens will not be supporting the amendment of Mrs Kikkert around the establishment of a poverty task force. As eloquently outlined by Minister Stephen-Smith, this is an issue that we have discussed quite a lot in previous Assembly sittings and is something that we believe has been well and truly talked about.

However, there is common ground. Absolutely the ACT government recognises that there are a number of key issues and has been responding to those issues through a range of support packages, including increasing the utilities concession, if we talk about the cost of energy; significant increases in relation to food relief; and also in relation to some of the additional assistance to community sector organisations that have been discussed by Minister Stephen-Smith today.

I speak in support of Mr Davis’s motion, particularly in my role as Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services. I am someone who also has come from the community sector, so I absolutely understand the important work that they do every single day, every year, in responding to a pandemic and responding to general issues. In my role as minister, I see the work of the community sector, particularly the specialist homelessness sector, each day as they support the Canberra community. I have also witnessed the way they have risen to the challenges of the pandemic, working closely with government to deliver the crisis response while continuing their existing services. I particularly thank the community sector partners that have helped deliver services at Ainslie Village and Condamine Court at a very difficult time. This has certainly been a partnership.

The COVID pandemic and lockdown have been incredibly hard for everyone; but the impacts are not being felt equally amongst us. This is evident with the increasing number of people accessing homelessness services in the ACT. That is why today the ACT government has announced a range of budget measures that assist the community sector to deliver services and community needs. Today’s announcement has included the commitment of $8.63 million to be invested into specialist homelessness services in the 2021-2022 budget. This is real action. This is action that will go on beyond the time of the pandemic. This is in addition to the investments that

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video