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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2923 ..


I am very grateful to Mr Braddock for raising this matter and holding me to account on it, and I confirm my commitment to ensure that, through the process of social recovery, we develop an even stronger community, ready to deal with future challenges. In so doing, we will build on the work done in recent years, including by Ms Orr as the previous minister, as well as learning the lessons of what has worked well and not so well in our recent responses.

The recently released roadmap outlines our determination to build a better normal. We will do this by working with our communities, understanding need, understanding our strengths and vulnerabilities, and co-designing an approach for our collective social recovery.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (4.34): I rise to speak in support of the motion put forward by Andrew Braddock in relation to the community recovery effort that is ahead of us in relation to COVID-19. As others have noted, COVID-19 has impacted on all of our lives. Before this crisis commenced, in early 2020, few of us would have imagined a global event that would result in our lives being changed so much. Our health, our livelihoods, our social connection and our access to services have all been affected.

While we thought that 2020 had seen the worst of the impact, 2021 has proven even more challenging, with the Delta variant requiring even higher levels of restriction and seeing thousands of Canberrans being impacted through quarantining, all of our children participating in online learning, businesses and schools closing their doors and all of us being isolated from friends, families and community supports.

Given the extraordinary challenges faced since the announcement of lockdown, I am really proud to have been part of a government that has responded immediately to the needs of the community, particularly those who have been doing it most tough. We have worked hard to ensure that people have what they need to survive. Minister Davidson has overseen significant investments in relation to food and material aid, mental health support and support for people with disability and older people. We have aimed to protect people and ensure they have a roof over their head. The Attorney-General, Shane Rattenbury, has introduced the residential tenancy declaration to protect people impacted by being evicted.

We have provided additional support to low income households through the additional utilities rebates, raising the rebate this year to $1,000 for low income households. And we have stepped in to provide an isolation payment for people ineligible for the commonwealth disaster payment. In partnership with the commonwealth, we have also provided significant support to local business to enable them to survive and be able to provide support to their staff over this period.

What we learnt from our emergence from last year’s lockdown is that our community is resilient, and most of us will be able to bounce back from the challenges of this latest lockdown. While challenging, many of us have been able to continue to work


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