Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2817 ..
Finally, I will just talk about the targeted assistance strategy. This is an incredibly important strategy that seeks to implement strategies for families and households facing financial pressures, particularly those not normally in receipt of government support. It was originally developed by an expert panel and it covered a range of different areas in which these families and households face pressure. In fact, the Greens—my former colleague Ms Bresnan—passed legislation implementing one of its recommendations. That was a recommendation to have flexible payment options for fines, recognising the potentially devastating and spiralling impact they could have on a person already in financial hardship. Ms Bresnan passed legislation introducing that scheme for traffic fines. Members will remember my other former colleague Ms Le Couteur also introduced legislation, which was passed, to implement the same for other offences.
We agree that it is time to review and renew that strategy. It is one of those funny quirks of a private members’ business week that Mr Braddock has a motion, I think to be debated tomorrow, which also asks for this update to occur. Of course, we are supportive of that, particularly that element of Ms Lee’s motion.
In agreeing with Ms Berry’s amendment, we agree with the relatively fast time line in that amendment, which is to update the strategy leading up to next year’s budget, with the option of funding new initiatives through the budget. I think 10 years is an appropriate amount of time to review that strategy. I look forward to that work being completed and measuring what has been achieved, contemplating, perhaps, measures that have not been completed and also looking at new measures that might be needed a decade down the track.
As I have indicated, we will be supporting Ms Berry’s amendment. We welcome the discussion today. I think it is important that we reflect on these matters. I think this will be an issue, going forward, and we have to reflect very heavily on the fact that the pandemic has exacerbated inequality. Particularly in this country, those who have not been impacted have seen a range of measures that showed that they are in some ways, at least financially, better off, but those who are struggling have really had that pressure increased on them during the pandemic. That is something we all need to be mindful of as we think about the economic recovery and the social recovery as our lives start to get back to something that resembles what we are used to.
MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (4.24): I just want to take a moment to reflect on the fact that often we have our policy differences within this place but here we have an actual agreement. I would like it recorded as documented evidence that there are ideas that the Canberra Liberals and the ACT Greens can come to an agreement on and a targeted assistance strategy is that. I do not want to pre-empt my speech for tomorrow, although I have noticed that some of it just got stolen by my leader. I also wish to say that I have no issue with being pipped at the post as long as we achieve the outcome that we are seeking, which is the review of the targeted assistance strategy. I am fine with that. I look forward to seeing the results of the review and any follow-on government actions that come through as a result in the 2022-23 budget as well.