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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2932 ..


wedding; they have lost work or even a business; and they have missed valuable face-to-face time with their friends and teachers as they manage learning from home.

The sacrifices Canberrans have made have been important in keeping our community safe, and even though Canberrans understand that, that does not make it easy. We know the impacts of this pandemic will be felt for many years, and the government is committed to meeting the needs of our community as we recover from the localised impact of this once-in-a-generation—we hope—global crisis.

As the Deputy Chief Minister has talked about, through successive budgets the government has responded to the pandemic with significant investments in the wellbeing and resilience of our community. Just a very few examples are funding for mental health support, domestic violence services and emergency food relief.

In June 2020 my colleague Ms Orr released our community recovery plan. The plan was developed to guide the territory’s phased transition from the COVID-19 crisis response to set out steps towards longer-term community recovery. As Ms Berry has said, we have another wave of COVID, more impactful in many ways than the first, and so we do need to revisit our recovery plan.

Social recovery is a fundamental concept of our overall recovery plan and is now an embedded feature of how we respond to the ebbs and flows of the pandemic and as we move into COVID normal. That is why the 2021-22 budget handed down by the Chief Minister yesterday includes continued funding for the Community Services Directorate’s pandemic response team to continue implementation of the community recovery response.

As the ACT’s nation-leading vaccination rates provide light at the end of the tunnel from our current COVID lockdown, we know there will be more crises in the future, whether they be flood, fire, pandemic or anything else. We know these will keep happening, and we need to build a community that is prepared to weather any storm, literally and metaphorically.

Likewise, despite the continued easing of restrictions planned over the coming weeks, we know there are Canberrans who will continue to feel the effects of COVID-19 for a long time to come. Our recovery plan recognises that resilient communities respond better and more quickly when faced with a crisis. But it is not always enough to stand up a social recovery effort in the midst of a disaster; we need to be working to embed resilience in our community. That is why the community recovery road map looks to the future and plans to build this resilience, using the wellbeing framework to help measure our success.

The ACT government has worked closely with our community partners to ensure the delivery of practical and meaningful support to those in our community throughout the pandemic as they needed it most. I have touched before on our commitment to the equity to access program for vaccination, recognising how important it is that everybody—everybody—in our community has an opportunity to get vaccinated, not just those of us who find it easy and straightforward to access mainstream health services.


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