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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2822 ..

All of the evidence that I have heard today, anecdotal but I trust true, from members who speak of the individual experience of constituents they have served who have faced substantial cost of living pressures while living in a wealthy city, bears out that a just and equitable rise in all of these income support payments would be greater than the increases to cost of living. That is using ACTCOSS’s own numbers, which are the basis of this motion. It grows frustrating. I do want to end on a high note, though, because I do not want to sound like I am complaining too much.

Ms Lee: Too late.

MR DAVIS: Thank you, Ms Lee. In a few moments the budget will be tabled, and I am incredibly excited about that budget, because it is the greenest budget in the country, coming from the greenest government in the country. Hundreds of millions of dollars will go to social and community housing, which we know will help people who are doing it tough. Over $26 million has already been earmarked for the community sector organisations that we have spoken about at length in this place, who provide invaluable supports to Canberrans doing it tough. There is the first real-time increase in specialist housing services funding in over a decade—$8.6 million.

I do have hope that, in spite of the federal government’s dereliction of duty, and in spite of the impassioned pleas by the Canberra Liberals to do something about poverty while managing so conveniently to miss the elephant in the room, we are doing all that we can in this Labor-Greens government, putting the budget millions of dollars into the red, because the government has made the decision that investing in supports for those doing it toughest, in housing, in health, in education and in community services, is more important than a budget bottom line. That speaks to the value that Canberrans can enjoy in having elected a progressive Labor-Greens government.

I cannot wait to get out into the community and celebrate the hundreds of millions of dollars of new money in tonight’s budget. More importantly, I cannot wait to see the real and tangible benefits that that money will have for people doing it tough in our community.

MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (4.43): I will speak to the amendment and close the debate. I thank all members for their contributions to this debate, including Mr Davis, because I think it is a great opportunity for the community to see what type of rubbish comes out of his mouth. I think it is great that he can contribute to this debate.

Mr Rattenbury, in his contribution, said that there is existing disadvantage and inequality that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and that is true. It has been echoed by ACTCOSS. But what he conveniently forgot to mention, of course, is that this existing poverty, these existing challenges for our most vulnerable Canberrans, have been happening and are being allowed to happen under the government in which he is a minister.

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