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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3212 ..

Community sector workers have told us that Canberrans who have not previously engaged with services have required assistance to navigate income support and service systems for the first time, and to obtain practical support, including information, advice and financial relief.

Recognising the need for long-term food security, we have committed funding to increase capacity and resources across Canberra’s food relief organisations. This complements the immediate COVID-19 food relief response, providing a response in both the short term and longer term as we progress through and beyond the pandemic.

The ACT government is investing $475,000 over four years to develop a fit-for-purpose database and cross-community collaborative approach to food security across the territory. Through this investment, a database will be developed to facilitate data-driven and evidence-informed decision-making. This will be managed by a dedicated project coordinator in the community services sector, and investing in this initiative will empower and enable us to continue to work together to meet the need.

Additionally, the funding will support the establishment of a food relief network with representation of government and community service providers to focus on ensuring food security across Canberra and establishing connections with broader critical social and health wraparound support. This increased collaboration will ensure food relief services are linked with existing services across community organisations, opening pathways to those accessing emergency food relief to also receive support for any additional needs.

The community sector has told us that more support is needed now to respond to domestic and family violence in our community. The domestic and family violence COVID-19 roundtable convened by the Coordinator-General for Family Safety and the Victims of Crime Commissioner is one way in which the government and community sector are coming together to improve responses for people experiencing domestic and family violence during the lockdown.

This forum has identified possible priority areas for the upcoming family, domestic and sexual violence national partnership agreement. Financial support and security will be provided to frontline services, as the ACT government works with the commonwealth to finalise the agreement. This will include funding boosts to identified frontline services so that they can respond to increases in demand and complexity of need because of the pandemic.

The government is also aware of the significant challenges that the ACT lockdown has created for unpaid carers who care for vulnerable people in the ACT community. The Community Services Directorate continues to work in close partnership with Carers ACT in delivering on actions to support carers under the ACT Carers Strategy 2018-28.

Recognising the many services and community organisations that would be impacted by the delayed ACT government budget, all contracts for ongoing funding with community organisations that were due to expire on 30 June 2021 were extended so

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