Page 1581 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 July 2020

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Thursday, 23 July 2020

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Legislative Assembly chamber

Statement by Speaker

MADAM SPEAKER: Members, it is quite exciting that today marks the first day that the Assembly is meeting in the newly reconfigured chamber. This is the first time that all 25 members have been able to be present in a physical distancing format since the sitting of 20 February this year, before the effects of the pandemic meant that we could not all be present in the chamber.

I would like to thank Hal Guida, the architect for the original chamber, for his assistance in designing the new layout, and Bob Fenderson, from the local company Designcraft, for constructing the new desks to enable us to all be present. Thanks are also due to Dennis London, the Assembly’s technical officer, who enabled us to put in place arrangements for us to be seen and heard—sometimes that is a mixed blessing—as well as Ian Duckworth, who coordinated all the arrangements.

I also thank my fellow members on the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure—Ms Cheyne, Mr Wall and Mr Rattenbury—who were able to set in place arrangements for the Assembly to continue with a reduced membership during the last few months. Thank you very much for that.

The fact that the Assembly has been able to still meet and carry out its important role, and can now have all its members present, should not be underestimated. I thank all members for their cooperation.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mrs Dunne) agreed to:

That leave of absence for today be granted to Mr Wall for illness and Mrs Jones for family reasons.

COVID-19 pandemic response—update

Ministerial statement

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Children, Youth and Families and Minister for Health) (10.03): This pandemic is far from over in the ACT, in Australia or globally. I rise today to provide my seventh update to the Assembly on the COVID-19 situation in the ACT and the plans, preparations and actions that the government continues to take to protect the health and wellbeing of Canberrans.

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