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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2806 ..

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (3.51): I thank members for their contributions. It is really positive to see all of us furiously agreeing—that is always a pleasant experience in this chamber. I also thank Ms Lawder for her amendment, which, of course, I support. It is a positive to be looking at how we can start to identify more ways that we can improve pay and ensure that everyone is getting equal pay for the equal work they are doing. I will leave it at that.

Amendment agreed to.

Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.

Cost of living—government programs

MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (3.52): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) 2021 Cost of Living Report, which highlights steep increases to cost of living as a driving factor for high rates of poverty in the ACT, including:

(i) 27.7 percent increase to electricity costs over five years;

(ii) 26.2 percent increase to gas costs over five years;

(iii) 18.6 percent increase to health costs over five years;

(iv) 18 percent increase to education costs over five years; and

(v) 15.7 percent increase to housing costs over five years;

(b) that ACTCOSS estimates 38 000 Canberrans are living in poverty, including 9300 children, which equates to nine percent of the total population;

(c) that the loss of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ACT lockdown have disproportionately affected the Canberrans living in poverty; and

(d) the last review of the ACT Concessions Program was in 2017; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) recognise that many Canberra families have, for many years, been subjected to increased cost of living pressures that have been exacerbated by the economic impacts of COVID-19;

(b) recognise the significant economic value and direct role the community services sector plays in improving the wellbeing of all Canberrans;

(c) undertake a full review of the purpose, adequacy, fairness and impacts of the ACT Targeted Assistance Strategy to ensure concessions are targeted to need, by June 2022; and

(d) report to the Assembly on progress of the review in March 2022.

12 August 2021 was a big day in Canberra. With very little warning, we were plunged into a short, sharp, seven-day lockdown that we are, of course, still in.

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