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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 March 2015) . . Page.. 861 ..

I am also very pleased to say that in the last budget the government committed ongoing funding for a coronial counselling service, a new service for the ACT. Providing clinical counselling to people bereaved by unexpected deaths—that is, deaths being investigated by the coroner—and offering counselling throughout the coronial investigation is a very important development. All too often these families were left to fend for themselves in what was already a difficult and traumatic time. It is great to see that Relationships Australia is providing this new service, in partnership with the Chief Coroner.

These are just a few examples of how the health system is working to develop and ensure effective social inclusion for vulnerable people in our community. It is a great step forward. It highlights achievements that we can undertake and more work we can do into the future.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (5.03): I would like to talk about the ways the ACT government is building communities in the ACT. Planning has a key role in building communities. This is a priority for the work of the government’s planning portfolio. Planning for Canberra needs to ensure a future city that is exciting, prosperous and livable for the community. Planning also needs to provide benefits to support the way communities live, work, travel and connect.

I would like to focus on how we can help to connect with people and build communities across our city. The ACT planning portfolio is involved in a number of projects that are focused on building communities, including the statement of planning intent, city plan implementation, master plans, public transport and active travel, the healthy weight initiative and active living program, and community and recreation facilities.

Madam Assistant Speaker, I want to discuss some of the key initiatives which the ACT government is progressing to build communities which help to implement the planning and transport framework set out in the ACT planning strategy 2012 and transport for Canberra 2012. The approach we are taking to integrate land use and transport planning will contribute to the development of Canberra as a compact and efficient city and will deliver on the government’s vision for a connected, livable and prosperous city with strong communities.

Planning is essentially about people and communities. A connected city provides people with a greater sense of identity and belonging. As our city grows towards a population of 500,000 over the next 20 years, it is becoming increasingly important for us to address the challenges presented by creating livable, resilient and connected communities for all Canberrans.

The places where we live, work and play are important influences on how we move around our city, our social connections and our sense of belonging in the community. People are connected in cities socially, economically, culturally and physically. The capacity of our growing city and region to absorb larger and changing populations and to improve quality of life for all residents will depend to a considerable degree on the extent to which the urban environment promotes social connection.

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