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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2826 ..

But there is a path to return to the life that we want, where we can visit family and friends, where we can go to the theatre or the footy, or throw a party. A path to rebuild our economy and protect the most vulnerable.

As a city and a community, that path is vaccination.

We hope to get as close to 100 per cent vaccination coverage as we can.

Canberrans have been rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated. More than 95 per cent now of the 12-plus population have had a first dose of a vaccine. We are getting vaccinated to protect our older loved ones, our vulnerable and valued community members, and those otherwise active, healthy people whose immune systems struggle against this disease.

I have said it before and I will say it again: a highly vaccinated Canberra is a safer and more confident Canberra.

There is very little vaccine hesitancy, complacency, or conspiracy in this city—we are responding to this virus together by getting vaccinated.

And the ACT government’s role, through today’s budget and over the coming year, will be to support a return to the life we want for ourselves, for our families and for our community.

Impact of COVID-19

There is no doubt that the current outbreak of the Delta variant has created one of the toughest periods in our city’s history.

After more than a year COVID free in the ACT, with no significant public health restrictions and a relatively normal social and economic life, the lockdown that was imposed, whilst absolutely necessary, has been extraordinarily difficult for everyone.

It has been a tough couple of months—and taking into account the bushfires and the first wave of the pandemic, it has been a really difficult few years.

During this time the ACT government has stepped up to respond to the challenges and to invest in our community’s safety and future.

This budget invests over $90 million to continue our COVID-19 public health response. This will get even more jabs into arms and ensure that the Chief Health Officer has the support she needs to contain the spread of the virus.

Beyond this, more than $500 million in additional funding will be provided over four years to boost our public health services.

Over the course of the pandemic, we have invested over $475 million through direct payments and tax relief measures to support local businesses.

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