COVID-19 has tested Canberra, just as it has tested every other city in the world. It has required significant public health measures and put a strain on our community and our economy.
Canberra has responded well. We acted early and we put in place evidenced based public health measures. We have effectively suppressed the spread of the virus.
It is well understood that the pandemic is not over though, and it won’t be for some time.
We now move to the next phase of our response. Learning to manage the health risks, whilst driving the recovery of our city - from our economy through to our wellbeing.
There will be no greater priority for the ACT Government in the months and years ahead than the delivery of our recovery.
Canberra’s Recovery Plan starts with the easing of restrictions, moving from stage one restrictions into the gradual implementation of stage two from midnight on Friday 29 May.
Work is continuing with industry stakeholders on the relevant measures that impact them. However, as we have done throughout this process, we will ultimately take the advice from health professionals on the implementation of measures to protect our community. The Government will outline this implementation plan next week.
As businesses reopen their doors, they will need support from both the ACT and Commonwealth Government so they can adjust their operations to cater for physical distancing, and encouraging employees to work from home where possible. Over the coming weeks, the ACT Government will be outlining further economic recovery measures to support those businesses through this adjustment period.
Our Recovery Plan also includes more jobs for Canberrans. We will continue our roll out of $25 million of fast tracked infrastructure projects, and we will be supporting even more Canberra families through the Jobs for Canberrans fund. Another 100 people will commence jobs in the ACT public service in the coming weeks, and more temporary roles will be advertised online.
Major infrastructure projects will play an important role in Canberra’s recovery. Canberrans can expect to see work on the expansion of the Canberra Hospital campus, early works on light rail stage 2A and consultation on CIT in Woden in the weeks ahead.
Changes to government policy will form part of this recovery. We will do this as necessary, ensuring we are delivering the greatest support to industries most impacted by COVID-19. This will include measures to reduce the cost of living for Canberra households and Canberra businesses.
The wellbeing of our community has been strained in recent months. The Government’s Recovery Plan won’t leave Canberrans behind, and it won’t let people slip through the cracks. More support for community service providers, more investment in mental healthcare and an emphasis on ensuring the ACT remains a liveable, inclusive city will be part of our plan.
Minister for Community Services and Facilities Suzanne Orr will be coordinating the Government’s Community Recovery Plan, working closely with our community services sector to ensure the right support is made available across our city.
Seeing the outpouring of goodwill through the last few months, from the teddy bear hunts to neighbours finding new ways to chat over the fence, Canberrans have shown we care and we are here to support each other.
On 18 June, the Government will be providing an economic update to the Legislative Assembly. This update will outline how the Government plans to work alongside industry and community sector partners to rebuild Canberra’s economy.
The ACT will consider the further easing of restrictions outlined in the COVIDSafe Framework, subject to advice from our local and national health experts.
A further, more comprehensive, update on the Territory’s fiscal and economic position for the fiscal year 2019-20 will be provided in August to the Legislative Assembly.
The ACT Government has a strong track record of creating jobs and supporting a growing local economy. Our Recovery Plan will draw upon this experience, ensuring our city gets through the greatest challenge we have ever faced.
- Statement ends -
Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases