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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4043 ..

threshold where 98 per cent of the territory’s eligible population will have received two doses of a COVID vaccine within the next 48 hours.

High vaccination rates are central to our health response. However, we know, and we are learning more, that vaccination alone is not enough to minimise the spread of COVID-19. It is therefore the government’s job to ensure that appropriate legislative safeguards are in place to allow us to respond appropriately to any increased risks posed by COVID-19. As such, this bill proposes new temporary powers to continue certain arrangements to help manage the public health response to the pandemic. These powers represent a stepped-down and balanced approach to the management of the virus.

As members would be aware, the government has published all public health directions prior to their commencement, despite this not being a specific legislative requirement. But rightly so; these are documents of high community value, and we understand the importance of bringing the community with us in navigating the response to the pandemic. We would argue that that has been one of the hallmarks of the ACT response—as distinct, often, from how it has been handled elsewhere. The ACT government will continue to ensure that it is transparent, consultative and open to scrutiny as we move forward with this proposed stepped-down approach to the management of COVID-19-related measures.

I thank the Minister for Health for her dedication to the delivery of this legislation and for her advocacy throughout this process and her leadership in managing what has been an extraordinary period in our lives. The pandemic is not over. It is necessary and important for this place to consider this legislation over the summer period. The minister has outlined a very sensible and transparent approach to its consideration by this place. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Lee) adjourned to the next sitting.

Health and Community Wellbeing—Standing Committee


Motion (by Ms Stephen-Smith), by leave, agreed to:

That the Public Health Amendment Bill 2021 (No 2) be referred to the Standing Committee on Health and Community Wellbeing for inquiry and report by 28 February 2022.

Statement by chair

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (11.15): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Health and Community Wellbeing for the Tenth Assembly relating to statutory appointments in accordance with continuing resolution 5A. This statement also covers its predecessor, the Standing Committee on Health, Ageing and Community Services, from July to October 2020, at the end of the Ninth Assembly.

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