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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4120 ..

talking to him all the way through its development, along with his colleague Mrs Kikkert, from whom he took over the portfolio. I was a little disappointed when we heard all of these issues raised, given that we had been told by Mr Milligan that he would be supporting the bill and was fine with it.

As I said, I would like to acknowledge my other colleagues today who have provided quite constructive comments. It has been very clear, throughout the development of this bill, that there is a large caring community within our community who feel that they are—it is a word that has been used time and again with me—invisible. They exist, they do this great work and it gets spoken about, but when it comes to the day-to-day needs that they have, they do not feel that they are getting there.

This bill goes to addressing that line in the sand. We no longer need to debate whether carers do or do not exist, nor what it is they need to be supported in the work they do. It is there in the law; it is clear. Carers exist. We appreciate them. We recognise them and we value them. That is the purpose of this bill.

There are a lot of measures which will continue to complement that. There is no silver bullet that will suddenly change the world and make everything as perfect as we want to see it. But in talking to carers—and I have spoken to many carers in the development of this bill—the one thing I have heard back from all of them is that they are so grateful that this is coming, so that they will be recognised and so that, in our law, they are acknowledged.

They want to see this bill go forward. They want to see the change it can drive. It will not be the end point. I have never said it will be the end point—that, suddenly, we have sorted out all of the problems for carers. We will not have. But this is a huge step forward.

In my presentation speech I spoke about my parents. I asked them what they felt. They said, “We’ve been trying for decades to get something like this—to get this acknowledgement, this extra standing, that will help with the work we do to support our community.”

I was talking with Lisa Kelly, and I acknowledge that she is in the public gallery today. She is the CEO of Carers ACT, as many people have noted. I was having a chat to her about the bill; there have been a few chats in the lead-up. She said, “I can’t believe we’re here. We’ve been trying for decades to get this done.”

This goes to the point about recognition. If you want to recognise people, then do it. This is that statement. We recognise you; we hear you and we value you. We will take it to the next step and no longer have this discussion about whether to get to the start line.

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the bill. There has been a wide-ranging group of people. I thank Lisa Kelly for all of the work she has done over the years and for the advocacy that she and her colleagues at Carers ACT have done. My own parents have many views—my mum’s are somewhat longer than my dad’s.

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