Chief Minister welcomes new ideas for Canberrans experiencing financial stress
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has welcomed a report that recommends ways to better support Canberrans experiencing financial hardship, particularly those who do not normally access some form of government help.
The report follows a five month investigation by the specially-convened Targeted Assistance Strategy Panel led by the Reverend Gordon Ramsay. The panel gave particular consideration to ways to target those Canberrans whose incomes sit just above the lowest 20 percent and who tend not to seek assistance.
"This exercise has been about getting up to date expert advice on the best options to provide practical, targeted assistance," the Chief Minister said.
"In my view it is absolutely essential that while my government continues its efforts to create a strong and diversified economy that we always ensure we actively engage with those in our community who are facing hardship and who struggle from week to week.
"In the lead up to the ACT budget I wanted to make sure we have the most up to date and comprehensive understanding of where need is in our community to ensure we get the balance right in targeting our assistance where it is needed most," the Chief Minister said.
The panel has made 34 recommendations to assist low income earners in areas such as financial management, health (including dental), housing, concessions, utilities, transport, education and training, and information sharing.
The Chief Minister said the ACT Government would now closely examine the Report's recommendations.
The panel was convened to develop the strategy following a successful Community Roundtable last year.
One of the outcomes of that Roundtable was the introduction of a new website to provide easy access to information on a broad range of ACT and Federal Government concessions and community support programs. The Chief Minister said she was pleased to announce that website was now live.
The website, www.assistance.act.gov.au, contains information on over 100 different types of support available, grouped to allow people to quickly determine the help they may be entitled to.
"As the panel's report notes, on average the ACT has the highest standard of living in Australia, the lowest levels of disadvantage in the country, and average household incomes about 20 percent higher than the national average," the Chief Minister said.
"However, some Canberrans are not been able to share in the ACT's prosperity. It is our duty as a community to ensure that these people are given the support they need.
"I want to thank Reverend Ramsay and the other members of the Panel, Carmel Franklin and Sandra Lambert, for their outstanding work," the Chief Minister concluded.
- Statement ends -
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