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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2933 ..


Ms Lawder spoke specifically about the impacts of the pandemic on older people. We can speak specifically about the impacts on younger people. I absolutely recognise those impacts on older people, on people with a disability, migrant and refugee communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans, people in insecure work—women disproportionately represented by the job impacts of the pandemic last year—and so many people in our community who are otherwise marginalised. These people have been directly affected by the pandemic response and have difficulties in accessing services—people who are homeless, sex workers, people who have a trauma background, engagement with the justice system, and drug users in our community who have that trauma background and for whom engagement with mainstream health services, engagement with the wider community and their complex lives present many challenges.

Community recovery requires a whole-of-government effort and a whole-of-community effort calling in expertise across our directorates, our community sector and our wider community, including businesses. We need to continue this coordinated approach as we move from the current relief phase into that longer term recovery. We need to continue engagement with communities across the territory to inform that long-term recovery, with the wellbeing framework as a really sound, central pillar to informing our understanding of the impacts of COVID-19, measuring our success and our recovery.

In listing all of those different groups—I am sure there are others I have not included—we are aware that recovery will look different for different groups and different individuals. We are committed to our vision for a connected and inclusive Canberra, where everybody is valued.

Ms Lawder says the Canberra Liberals advocate to their colleagues federally. That may be true, but they never do it publicly. They never do it publicly. They never call on their federal colleagues to do anything that their federal colleagues are not already doing. We in the Labor and Greens parties are willing to publicly stand up and ask our federal colleagues to do more, to go further, as well as the incumbent federal Liberal-National government. Ms Berry and others have said they hold the keys to addressing the income support challenges that are keeping so many people in poverty.

We saw last year the impact when they make a change and they raise the rate. They need to do it permanently. The Chief Minister was the first of the first ministers across the country to call for that. We will continue to call for that, no matter how many times the Canberra Liberals say it is not our business. It is our business, and we will continue this fight to raise the rate.

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (5.15), in reply: I thank members for the contributions made today in this debate. I particularly thank the ministers for their contributions in terms of highlighting the various actions that the ACT government is undertaking to support the community recovery from COVID.

I note that Ms Vassarotti mentioned the work that the government has been doing, particularly by Ms Davidson, with respect to seniors. Your point, Ms Lawder, was well made; older people should by no means be excluded from this particular plan.


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