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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3662 ..

analysing the budget from a gendered lens is not to discuss how women have impacted what goes into the budget; it is actually about how the budget affects women. And who but the Treasurer would be the person to talk about that?

Canberra women deserve better; they deserve a government that delivers a women’s budget statement that is actually meaningful and useful to them. That would be a nice thing, would it not, rather than a glossy brochure that ticks the boxes? They could be better prioritised by this government, and this could be demonstrated with more budget initiatives that directly benefit women, that encourage workforce participation, that look at addressing the gender pay gap, which is still, I do not know, about eight per cent. (Second speaking period taken.)

Roads, footpaths, lighting upgrades et cetera are things that matter to women’s safety. They are the things that we could be doing, where women have identified that they feel unsafe, not made-up examples that the government had promised at the election anyway to do and then tried to pass it off as a women’s safety initiative. I hope in future the Minister for Women pushes for more than just talk when it comes to gender equality and actually delivers for women in Canberra.

I would like to make a few comments relating to my shadow portfolio of seniors. Once again I would like to acknowledge how disappointing the 2021-22 budget was for seniors. There were no new initiatives; it was the same things funded again. Yet again during COVID we heard that seniors felt so left out, so isolated, so afraid of going out. The minister talked about how disadvantaged seniors were during COVID, in a statement about seniors; yet that has not translated to actual more on-the-ground support of seniors.

The lockdowns, the border closures, the separation from their families and grandchildren and their friends have had a huge impact on senior Canberrans,. They need extra support, and they need extra consideration from this government in policy-making that the pandemic has highlighted. They felt isolated at times by the reliance even on the scanning code to get into places because some seniors did not have a smartphone, and it took some time to work through those issues and make sure that seniors, if they did go out, did not feel frightened about accessing places in public. Again, the support here has to be reactive in aiming to fix already-established problems, not investing proactively in our older Canberrans.

We need to support them before they become isolated, before their mental health deteriorates, before their quality of life declines. Seniors are one of our most vulnerable cohorts. They have had very detrimental effects from the pandemic over the past two years. Why? Why then are there no new initiatives aimed at supporting our seniors?

On the plus side, many seniors and the organisations that support them have been very resilient throughout the pandemic. They have adapted to new ways of interacting with their family members, some of them online. We have seen some seniors talking and communicating through windows because that human interaction, even if slightly removed, is so important to them. They know how important it is to stay connected in

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