How we are delivering

In the aftermath of the Black Summer fires, amid the rise of the pandemic, we decided to put our most ambitious agenda to the people of the ACT. 

If we don’t respond to climate change now, then when? If we don’t look after people now, then when? 

The vision you voted for at the 2020 election is one our whole community can be proud of. Even better: we are achieving it. 

Scroll or click the tiles below to see how we’re delivering our election commitments and bringing to life Canberrans’ values around social justice, ecological sustainability, grassroots democracy, and living in peace without violence. 

This is what it means to have Greens in government. 


 

We are delivering our plan to get serious about making homelessness history and making housing more affordable, with new social and community housing and more funding and support for homelessness services. 

A decent home for all

  • The ACT Greens’ Parliamentary and Governing Agreement with ACT Labor promised we’d agree to a proportion of all new homes in the ACT being built to meet accessibility standards. The proportion that we got Cabinet to agree to was 100%! 

  • In a massive win for people with accessibility needs around Australia, Greens Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction, Rebecca Vassarotti, took the ACT’s position to a meeting of the nation’s building ministers and secured agreement that minimum accessibility standards will be included in the 2022 National Construction Code, to apply to all newly built homes and apartments around Australia.  

  • To ensure the ACT Government is a respectful landlord, the 2021-22 ACT Budget has allocated $80 million to increase public housing maintenance to meet the needs of tenants. 

  • With Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury as the responsible minister, we’re partway through consultation to set minimum standards for all rental properties – in terms of accessibility, amenity, security and energy efficiency – to look after tenants and set clear, enforceable expectations for landlords. 

  • We’ve dedicated more funding and staff to taking action on building quality, with $5.4 million in the 2021-22 Budget to strengthen Access Canberra’s capacity to regulate and respond to increasing activity in the construction sector. Extra compliance officers are being recruited before July 2022.  

Supporting people locked out of the housing and rental markets 

  • With more Greens in the ACT Government than ever before, the 2021-22 ACT Budget has made its largest ever investment in public and social housing

  • The Greens went to the election calling for 400 more social housing dwellings. The 2021-22 ACT Budget makes an $18 million commitment toward this with a funding boost to the Growing and Renewing Public Housing program.  

  • We’ve also started a big shift toward providing more community housing and stable, affordable rentals, by progressing ‘build to rent’ opportunities in Turner, Lawson and Gungahlin, and transferring existing Community Housing Canberra Ltd. properties to government ownership, while making long-term arrangements with CHC to continue managing the properties. 

  • In May 2021 we extended and expanded the incentive scheme that encourages private landlords to make a meaningful contribution to housing affordability. We removed the expiry date on the 100% land tax discount for landlords who rent their homes through a community housing provider at below-market rates, and opened the scheme up to double the number of properties. 

  • With Rebecca Vassarotti as our Greens Minister for Homelessness, we’ve created a better normal for the ACT’s invaluable specialist homelessness services, lifting their base funding by 12.7%. This will increase their capacity to support our community and reduce the number of people turned away from homelessness services. 

  • Earlier in the year, as part of the 2020-21 ACT Budget handed down in February 2021, we expanded the Early Morning Centre to a seven day per week service, because fundamental needs like access to shelter, food and showers, don’t pause over the weekends. 

  • In the 2020-21 Budget we also restored funding to ACT Shelter that was cut by the Federal Government ($700k over four years) to begin properly funding advocacy services for tenants. 

  • We’ve increased emergency support and accommodation funding to OneLink, with $450,000 in the 2020-21 Budget. 

  • We’re increasing youth-specific social housing support, with $7 million in the 2021-22 Budget to expand the Safe and Connected Youth Program. This provides therapeutic care and respite accommodation to young people at risk of homelessness. 


 

 

The Greens pull the ACT Government further and faster than any other government on delivering real climate action. We’ve got emissions reduction targets and we’re meeting them, but we know rooftop solar isn’t enough to get us to net-zero. Today, transport and fossil fuel gas account for 84% of the ACT’s emissions, which is why the Greens were the only party at the ACT election to bring a plan for kickstarting Australia’s electric vehicle sectortransitioning off gas, while ensuring a just transition to a zero emissions society. 

Making zero-emissions transport the new normal 

  • With our Greens Minister for Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury, we’ve started offering among the nation’s best incentives to switch to an emissions-free vehicle. Since May 2021, we’ve been giving two years free rego to any newly registered EV in the ACT, whether it’s a new car or second-hand. New EVs incur zero stamp duty in the ACT, and soon a $15,000 interest-free loan will be available through the Sustainable Household Scheme, to help with the upfront costs of buying a zero-emissions car. Other discounts apply for vehicles like plug-in hybrids and hydrogen-powered cars. 

  • As part of achieving our target of being a net-zero emissions government by 2040, we’re continuing the transition to zero-emissions public transport. Procurement of the territory’s first electric buses is underway with 90 to be purchased along with the necessary charging infrastructure, and an initial eight to be leased, allowing the government’s highest-emitting buses to be retired. 

  • The 2021-22 ACT Budget includes early planning for a depot for zero-emissions buses, and the purchase of nine emissions-free emergency services vehicles, including Australia’s first electric fire truck. 

  • We’re set to build a network of 50 new EV charging stations across the ACT, with a reverse auction for their construction to take place in the 2021-22 financial year. 

  • ActewAGL, which is co-owned by the ACT Government, is also installing 20 fast-chargers around the Territory in a partnership with Evie Networks. 

  • We’re working to get electric bikes included in the Sustainable Households Scheme, to make interest-free loans available for the purchase of these bikes and support Canberrans to reduce our transport emissions. 

  • In the meantime, we extended the ACT’s popular E-bike library for another 12 months, to meet surging demand. The program, run by SEE-Change allows people to try and borrow a variety of electric bikes to determine their suitability to their needs and lifestyle. 

  • As part of the ACT’s Community Zero Emissions Grants, the Government supported the Conservation Council ACT Region and the Canberra Environment Centre to run their ‘Make the Move’ project. This supported employees at participating businesses to trial emissions-free transport for their commutes to and from work, with workshops tailored to each workplace and free use of electric bikes and scooters. 

Getting off gas 

  • We’re making it affordable for everyone to switch from polluting fossil fuel gas to efficient electric appliances for their heating, cooking and hot water. Interest-free loans are now available through the Sustainable Household Scheme and support for low-income renters and owners will be offered through the Vulnerable Household Energy Support Scheme, because we know it’s lower-income households who can benefit most from energy efficiency. 

  • In the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement we got a commitment from Labor that all new suburbs would be fully powered by the ACT’s 100% renewable energy from 2021-22. On that basis, we’ve prevented gas mains being installed in the next stages of the Molonglo suburb of Whitlam and the Gungahlin suburb of Jacka, to prevent expensive new infrastructure going in, only to carry a polluting fossil fuel. 

  • As we continue shifting away from using fossil fuel gas, toward using more electricity, the Government is bolstering the ACT’s energy grid with large-scale battery storage to be provided by the Canberra Big Battery. A test of the market recently saw significant interest in delivering the 250MW project, and a formal expression of interest for industry to take part in the design process will open soon. 

  • To cut down on the use of other polluting fuels, we’ve equipped staff at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve with electric tools and e-bikes, to reduce emissions and noise pollution while they carry out their work. Roll-out of this equipment to staff in other nature reserves is now being considered. 

  • The Greens led the ACT to become the highest-level government in the world to support the development of an international Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The motion put forward by Jo Clay, our MLA for Ginninderra, was agreed to in June 2021. 

Ensuring a just transition 

  • To truly support everyone to shift to a net-zero emissions way of life, we have to fully understand where our emissions come from. That’s why Shane Rattenbury, as Emissions Reduction Minister, has commissioned a report into the ACT’s scope 3 emissions – the emissions the ACT indirectly creates, through the production of food and goods we use here. UNSW is undertaking the research for this Australian-first initiative that could better inform government procurement decisions and decisions made by people across Canberra. 

  • Better government decision-making will also be the product of a new initiative in the 2021-22 ACT Budget. We’ve become the first jurisdiction in Australia to implement a ‘social cost of carbon’ – a measure, in dollar terms, of the local harm caused by one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. This will allow the government to make more comprehensive cost/benefit assessments that factor in the impacts of climate change. 

  • We’re making it easier to get the best deal on your energy bills, fulfilling a commitment in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement by passing a new law that requires energy retailers to tell you if they have a better deal than the one you’re on, and setting a ‘reference price’ to make it easier to compare offers from different retailers. 

  • Energy hardship most affects lower income households, which is why we’ve permanently increased the Utilities Concession and expanded the eligibility criteria, while also boosting the Utilities Hardship Fund by $1 million over four years. 

  • We’re establishing an energy literacy program to embed energy efficiency, subsidies and concessions into the support community organisations already provide to their clients. 

  • We’ve extended the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme until 2030, to help households and businesses pay for energy efficiency upgrades. Over 74,000 households and businesses have already participated, together preventing half a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and saving $400 million dollars on their energy bills. 

  • Another $600,000 in Community Zero Emissions Grants over four years, funded in the 2021-22 ACT Budget, will empower local people to help reach our emissions targets and build climate resilience

  • As noted above under ‘A decent home for all’, we’ve already commenced consultation on minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties, with the next stage coming soon. 


 

Canberrans already love our bush capital, but the Greens are working to make it a true biodiversity sanctuary. Our comprehensive plan to grow healthy habitat is seeing government and the community working together to repair the land, improve water quality and repair local waterways

Repairing the land 

  • For years, local environment groups have been calling for long-term, secure funding. Within our first year of having a Greens Environment Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, we’ve shifted from annual to four-year funding agreements for environment groups including Landcare, Parkcare, the ACT’s three catchment groups and ACT Wildlife, as well as citizen science programs such as Frogwatch and Waterwatch. This better reflects how much we value these groups, who provide localised and dedicated care with volunteers who love and truly understand their neighbourhoods. 

  • After many years of championing cat containment in the ACT, we have now achieved a plan for Territory-wide cat containment, to protect local wildlife and domestic cats themselves. Every year, free-roaming but owned Canberra cats are estimated to prey on 61,000 native birds, 2,000 native mammals, 30,000 native reptiles and 6,000 native frogs. The ACT Cat Plan 2021-2031 will see all new cats required to be kept indoors or in outdoor enclosures from 1 July 2022.  

  • To support community-led biodiversity and nature protection projects, we’re increasing the value of environment grants in the 2021-22 ACT Budget for the first time in around 15 years, lifting them by a third to more than $300,000 per year over the next four years. 

  • The 2021-22 ACT Budget also provides increased and stable funding to invasive species management, with $3 million over four years to establish an Invasive Species Response Team, who will respond to emerging biosecurity threats that are accelerated by climate change and provide support to rural landholders facing the same challenges. 

  • We’ve made permanent six Ngunnawal rangers who had been employed during the COVID-19 economic recovery program, to increase our recognition, respect and use of local First Nations cultural practices in environmental management, including water and fire management. 

  • Six staff were also recruited through the Jobs for Canberrans program to identify vacant sites suitable for new public trees to be planted, visiting over 7,500 sites in over 60 suburbs 

  • The 2021-22 ACT Budget will employ an additional ParkCare ranger in Canberra’s north

  • We’re funding the restoration of golden sun moth habitat, natural temperate grasslands and riparian zones through the 2021-22 ACT Budget. 

  • The Budget will also support the development of stronger policy frameworks around environmental offset operations and delivery, as well as monitoring and research. 

Repairing waterways 

  • Together, our Greens Minister for the Environment Rebecca Vassarotti and Greens Minister for Water Shane Rattenbury, initiated an investigation by the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment to assess the state of local lakes and waterways. Due in early 2022, the inquiry is the first of its kind in 10 years and will report on the condition of lakes and waterways in the ACT, the effectiveness of the government’s management and processes, and the role community and stakeholders can play in supporting water quality and ecological health. 

  • The first two ACT Budgets of this term have continued funding projects through the Healthy Waterways Program. The budget delivered in February 2021 is improving the health of our lakes, creeks and rivers by building wetlands and installing pollutant traps to clean and filter water as it flows through the city and into our lakes. $5 million in the October 2021 Budget is exploring new ways to prevent stormwater pollution from entering our waterways in the first place, with a focus in 2021-22 on reducing pollution from development sites and green spaces. This term’s Healthy Waterways funding builds on $93.5 million invested in water quality infrastructure projects last term. 

  • One project, commenced in March 2021, saw a floating wetland installed in Lake Tuggeranong as a two-year trial, to find out if it will reduce the algal blooms in warm weather by competing with algae for nutrients and light. If successful, it will become a permanent feature. Another will be installed in Yerrabi Pond later this year. 


 

Renters should be able to turn their houses into homes. We’re reforming renters rights to provide more security for tenants and guaranteeing renters’ right to garden and grow food

 Reforming renters’ rights 

  • With Shane Rattenbury as Attorney-General we have improved rights for renters in share houses and occupancy agreements. The changes have created more certainty about the rights of co-tenants and sub-tenants when changing how a shared tenancy is set up, removed fees for changing who your co-tenants are, made it easier to manage a bond, and created an extra pathway for dispute resolution. 

  • The government is currently consulting on a range of Greens proposals to improve renters’ rights: ending no-cause evictions, regulating rent bidding, giving tenants a legal presumption that they do have a right to garden and compost at their rental properties, and introducing a range of minimum standards (with regard to energy efficiency, accessibility, safety and security, sanitation and amenity) for rental properties. You can follow and take part in the consultation here

  • To empower renters to improve their comfort and cut their bills, we designed the Actsmart Home Energy Assessment webtool specifically to help renters identify the best actions they can take to improve home energy efficiency.  


 

We believe we can do better in how we develop our city. That’s why we are pushing ahead with A New Plan for Canberra to deliver well-designed, sustainable neighbourhoods, protect and increase tree canopy cover and urban green space and give the community a real say in how their neighbourhood develops.  

Increasing tree canopy 

  • Since the Greens’ then-Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury released Canberra’s Living Infrastructure Plan and the Climate Change Strategy last term, the ACT has been committed to achieving a 30% urban tree canopy, to cool the city, grow habitat and increase our community’s resilience to climate change. Now the government has delivered a comprehensive plan, with the release of the Urban Forest Strategy 2021-2045 that focuses on areas where canopy cover is lower and existing trees are ageing or dying. 

  • The 2021-22 ACT Budget includes funding to plant 54,000 more trees, as part of meeting the tree canopy target. 

  • Advocacy from Andrew Braddock, Greens MLA for Yerrabi and spokesperson on Better Neighbourhoods, has seen the ACT Government commit to delivering annual progress updates on growing the tree canopy, reporting on the tree canopy percentage in every suburb of Canberra, and involving the community in achieving the tree canopy target. 

  • Local communities will be invited to participate again soon, by helping the government to identify sites where new trees should be planted, have a say in the species of trees that will be planted in their area by choosing from a shortlist, and to stay involved in maintaining the health of the trees that are planted. 

  • Further community involvement in achieving biodiversity outcomes is being supported through the continuation of the Adopt-a-Park program, where new and existing volunteer groups can adopt urban open spaces. 

  • We’ve also had the opportunity to support neighbourhood micro-forests and nest boxes for birds and mammals through ACT Environment and Nature in the City grants, to bring greater biodiversity to our city. 

Making development more sustainable 

  • Through a motion in the Legislative Assembly, Greens MLA for Yerrabi Andrew Braddock achieved agreement that the Suburban Land Agency will be required to focus on delivering high-quality outcomes, not just sales to the highest bidder, when the government sells remaining greenfield blocks in the Gungahlin Town Centre.  

  • Achieving high quality, not just high-priced land sales for government, is part of the Greens’ broader push to deliver better planning outcomes for Canberrans, balancing the competing needs for more affordable housing, for the preservation of green space, for local job creation and for community facilities.  

  • In defence of First Nations heritage, the Greens have stood with Aboriginal community leaders against the Doma development on the Mt Ainslie foothills. 


 

All of us deserve access to meaningful, secure work. The Greens plans will create 4,500 jobs for Canberrans, deliver more flexible working conditions, reduce inequality, support co-operatives and ensure women are supported during our COVID recovery

Sustainability and social justice creates jobs 

  • New jobs created in the ACT’s public services will support Canberra’s transition to a better normal, with additional Ngunnawal rangers, an additional ParkCare ranger in Canberra’s north, more nurses and midwives to begin to meet mandated staffing ratios, additional staff in workplace health and safety, active travel and safety support for schools, school libraries, homelessness services, building quality monitoring and enforcement, digital services, health services and mental health care, multicultural recognition, the ACT Integrity Commission and the new Office of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner. 

  • We’re creating jobs in the community sector with increased funding and more secure funding for environmental organisations, the specialist homelessness sector, community mental health services and disability advocacy. 

  • The government is helping community sector organisations meet higher wage costs mandated by a recent Fair Work Commission decision, with $4 million over four years in the 2021-22 ACT Budget to increase the community sector indexation rate applied to annual grants funding. 

  • Canberrans have an opportunity to join the ACT’s climate-ready workforce, with free vocational training on offer through the JobTrainer program. The ACT has chosen to target funding at in-demand industries, including renewable energy, sustainability, healthcare and community services.  

  • We’re boosting jobs in clean industries in Canberra, by incentivising rapid uptake of electric vehicles and energy efficiency upgrades in homes and businesses, procuring electric buses, building EV charging infrastructure and investing in big batteries, with flow-on benefits through the maintenance these investments will require. 

  • We’re beginning to create more jobs for artists, with a public artwork by a female or non-binary artist to be commissioned with funds from the 2021-22 Budget, as well as a total of 10 residencies funded earlier in the term. 

Gender led recovery 

  • Supporting women supports our whole community, which is why the Greens have been taking a particular focus on ensuring women empowered to fully participate in our society and our economy. 

  • Our delivery of funding certainty and more staff in community service sectors like healthcare and homelessness, creates more employment certainty for women, who make up a strong majority of these workforces.  

  • Our investment in more social, community and affordable housing is an investment in a more secure foundation for women, who disproportionately rely on these housing options. 

  • Continuing the rollout of free early childhood education to three-year-olds supports the learning and development of children, as well as enabling their primary carers, usually women, to participate in the paid workforce and improve their economic security

  • We’re making it safer for women to move around the city, with public space upgrades such as improved lighting at Yerrabi Pond and more separated bike lanes. 

  • Importantly, we’re strengthening responses to domestic, family and sexual violence with more funding and legislative reform. 

  • An additional $8.8 million over four years will: help the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and Domestic Violence Crisis Centre to meet increasing demand for their services; fund Legal Aid and Women’s Legal Centre to support women presenting in health and hospital settings; Provide private rental assistance for women leaving violent homes, and; provide culturally appropriate responses for local First Nations communities, among other supports. 

  • The $8.8 million is has also enabled the government to reconvene the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, which involves government, stakeholders and community working together on prevention, response, law reform and workplace safety interventions. 

  • Greens in the Legislative Assembly have already supported the passage of legislation in 2021 to establish a Domestic and Family Violence Death Review in the ACT, to look at domestic and family violence-related deaths as a connected group and make recommendations to improve policy, procedures, legislation, systems and services. 

  • We’re continuing former Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur’s work to legislate a positive definition of consent, with a Private Member’s Bill currently being considered. 

  • We’ve ensured a gender lens is applied across legislative and policy proposals put forward in the Legislative Assembly, by adding ‘gender equity’ to the remit of the former economics committee. The new Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality has a member of each political party participating, including Greens MLA Johnathan Davis, making gender equity a shared and whole-of-Assembly responsibility


 

Our plan to properly value the arts and to support artists through the COVID crisis is centred around creating local arts jobs, paying artists first and fairly, and supporting arts organisations. 

Paying Artists 

  • This term the Government has already fully delivered the Greens’ proposed $1 million extra COVID support for artists, with another $350,000 in Homefront grants and over $700,000 in Amp It Up! grants announced in 2021-22. 

  • Creating more jobs for artists has begun, with a total of 10 residencies provided through the Creative Recovery and Resilience Program, as well as three works commissioned from local artists working with community. Funding a new street art festival, due to take place in November 2021 pending COVID restrictions, also included one long-term job for a local producer to run the event. The Greens want 100 jobs created for local artists during this term of government. 

  • We’re providing more support for artists to reach audiences outside of traditional venues, by waiving all hawker permit fees from September 2021 until the end of June 2022 to allow micro-businesses to trade outside more easily, and charging a community rather than commercial rate for independent theatre companies to use the Causeway Community Hall in Kingston. 

  • The government has now committed to improving representation in public funding of the arts, with the new Statement of Ambition for the Arts stating that women and traditional custodians should hold pride of place, both as subjects and creators, as Canberra’s public arts collection is fostered and grown. 

  • The Greens’ decade-long campaign for entertainment precincts has taken a step forward, with $250,000 in the 2021-22 ACT Budget to fund preparatory works to change noise restrictions and planning regulations to create vibrant hubs of music, art and food around Canberra. 

  • We’re ensuring that funding for Key Arts Organisations in the ACT is adequate, appropriate, and reliable with consultation on a new funding model occurring with the sector during 2021-22, and the new funding model to commence from 2023. 

  • The 2021-22 ACT Budget supports arts-friendly infrastructure with $839,400 to develop the sound stage and virtual effects studio at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Watson. 

  • range of building improvements are also scheduled for arts venues such as the Old Bus Depot in Kingston, the Tuggeranong Arts Centre Theatre, Canberra Theatre Centre, and the Canberra Museum and Gallery, including to meet health and safety requirements. The Greens want a separate budget for these works so they don’t detract from funding artists and producers. 


 

Everyone who needs healthcare should be able to access it - no matter what their income or circumstances are. The Greens are working to deliver accessible, quality healthcare for all Canberrans, improve mental health services and facilities including a boost toyouth mental health services, and expand birthing centres

Health 

  • The Greens in Cabinet have supported a range of significant investments in the ACT’s health system, to support the COVID-19 pandemic response and beyond. Health investment in the 2021-22 ACT Budget totalled close to $600 million – the largest in many years. 

  • To improve patient outcomes and better support frontline health workers, we’re working with the Nursing and Midwifery Foundation ACT to developing a framework for mandated minimum nurse/midwife to patient ratios, and hiring additional health workers to start meeting the ratios that have been determined so far. 

  • new hydrotherapy pool for the southside of Canberra is in the works, with $250k invested in initial design, planning and costing work. Locations being considered are at the Lakeside Leisure Centre in Tuggeranong, or the Active Leisure Centre at Erindale. 

  • We’re investing to improve emergency department response with $22.9 million over four years to expand the Emergency Medical Unit at Canberra Hospital to 18 treatment spaces, and create a new Acute Medical Unit that will speed up the process of admitting patients from the ED, to have their care commenced by a multidisciplinary team. The funding will also appoint a new ‘medical navigator’ role to tailor care for ED patients and deliver an additional 1,920 hours of emergency surgery each year, and eight surgical beds. 

  • To continue taking pressure off emergency departments and provide more free local healthcare, feasibility and site selection is starting this year (2021) for more Walk-in Centres in South Tuggeranong, West Belconnen, the Inner South and North Gungahlin, with plans to also establish a new Walk-in Centre in Coombs. 

  • Scoping and planning for a Northside Hospital is now funded, to meet the healthcare needs of the ACT’s growing population. 

  • COVID-19 community support package in September 2021, announced by ministers including the Greens’ Emma Davidson, provided $110,000 for the Interchange Health Co-op in Tuggeranong to improve access to primary care for some of Canberra’s most vulnerable people, and $100,000 additional funding into the Community Assistance and Support Program (CASP), which provides in-home help to people who are finding daily living activities difficult due to a health issue. 

  • The Greens have welcomed an Australian Medical Association push to encourage GPs to talk to their patients about health risks caused by climate change. A national campaign with an online presence plus posters and pamphlets in waiting rooms is starting first in the ACT. 

Mental health 

  • Almost one third of Canberrans will need support with their mental health at some stage in their lives, and the COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increase in need. As Minister for Mental Health, and Minister responsible for Community Recovery and Emergency Relief, the Greens’ Emma Davidson has delivered two COVID community support packages to ensure help is there when Canberrans reach out for it.  

  • The first package announced in August 2021 focused on supporting six specific groups of Canberrans who the previous lockdown had revealed as having specific mental health needs: new and expectant parents, people in the LGBTIQA+ community, young people, people experiencing both homelessness and mental ill-health, and carers. $260,000 was shared among local organisations including: Perinatal Wellbeing, Meridian ACT, Carers ACT, Catholic Care’s youth services and Woden Community Service’s suicide prevention services. 

  • The August support package also addressed specific Greens commitments to invest in better healthcare for people experiencing homelessness, and to address alcohol and drug and mental health co-morbidities. The support package extended the Homelessness Outreach Team pilot that supports people with severe mental illness experiencing homelessness, run by the Mental Health Justice Health Alcohol and Drugs Service (MHJHADS).  

  • The second COVID community support package in September 2021 provided $3.6 million to support people most disadvantaged by the lockdown who may be experiencing mental health impacts, such as: asylum seekers and refugees; people who have lost work and income during lockdown; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans; school students; expectant, new and breastfeeding parents; Intersex, Trans and Gender Diverse Canberrans; people who have recently exited inpatient mental health care; culturally and linguistically diverse Canberrans; detainees at the AMC; social housing tenants; people with disability and their carers. This package also included $70,000 to Lifeline, to meet increased demand on the helpline. 

  • The September support package also progressed some specific Greens commitments, including: expanding the Police, Ambulance, Clinician Emergency Response (PACER) program with an additional team, albeit temporarily, to support people experiencing mental health crisis in a familiar setting such as their home; supporting parents and carers with mental health advice, through funding for Parentline; providing services to address the co-occurrence of alcohol and drug use and mental ill-health; providing more support and services to people affected by eating disorders; providing targeted support to young people experiencing mental ill-health, including more counselling and home-based support. 

  • As the ACT’s Mental Health Minister, Emma Davidson also secured a $2.5 million COVID mental health support package from the Commonwealth, with a focus on supporting Canberra’s young people. This included further support for young people affected by an eating disorder, a boost to headspace, funding for Catholic Care’s program for children who have suffered trauma, more funding for Meridian ACT to support LGBTIQA+ Canberrans, and funding to establish a Head to Health Pop-Up mental health clinic. 

  • The 2021-22 ACT Budget in October 2021 saw Minister Davidson deliver the full $2 million the Greens had pledged to create a culturally appropriate program to focus on suicide prevention, intervention, postvention and aftercare tailored for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans. 

  • The 2021-22 ACT Budget has also committed $184,000 to progress the Greens’ commitment of building an additional five supported accommodation houses. The accommodation will enable people with enduring mental illness to live safely and well in the community, and the budget funding will be used to develop a model of care. 

  • The Greens went to the election calling for a boost to community counselling, mentoring, home visits, advocacy and case management for 10-25 year old’s living with mental health concerns, and with our Greens Minister for Mental Health, the 2021-22 ACT Budget has delivered $851,000 to Catholic Care’s multidisciplinary outreach service for people aged 12-25 years.  

  • A further investment in youth access to mental health support will deliver a digital and face-to-face mental care program for young people, starting with a trial of the Moderated Online Social Therapy program (MOST) program, and $7 million in the out years for continuation of this service contingent on results from the scoping study and trial. 

  • The Budget provides more mental health support to parents and carers, adding $169,000 to the $10,000 given to Parentline in the September COVID support package, to fund phone referrals, counselling, face-to-face sessions and regular phone ‘check-ins’ for parents and carers. 

  • The budget has also provided $1.2 million to continue the Home Assessment and Acute Response Team (HAART), which helps people stay out of hospital by providing urgent mental health assessment and intervention in the community

  • $43 million over four years will deliver an important expansion of acute mental health services at Canberra Hospital, with additional 10 inpatient beds to be added to the refurbished Low Dependency Unit, and additional High Dependency capacity at the Adult Mental Health Unit to meet increased demand. 

  • In April 2021 Minister Davidson opened the refurbished mental health Extended Care Unit (formerly the Brian Hennessy Rehabilitation Centre), with a new name gifted by Ngunnawal Elders: Gawanggal, which means ‘honey’. The unit provides accommodation for up to 10 patients who are transitioning out of rehabilitation accommodation back into their community. Refurbishing these 10 beds was a specific Greens election commitment, with the work agreed and commenced while Shane Rattenbury was the ACT’s Minister for Mental Health. 

  • The establishment of two Safe Haven Cafés is gradually progressing through a community co-design process. The Government is seeking a service provider and appropriate locations in Canberra’s north and south. Safe Haven Cafés provide a safe alternative to the emergency department and other crisis services for adults seeking support for their mental health and wellbeing. 


 

We want to create a safe, healthy and connected community, by building communities, not prisons, by reducing the stigmatisation and criminalisation of people who use drugs and by reducing gambling harm through reducing poker machines.  

A more accessible and equitable justice system 

  • We’re the only government in Australia currently preparing to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years of age, to divert children – mostly First Nations children – away from a life of engagement with the criminal justice system. The Greens want this change to be made nationwide, but while we wait for national reform, our Greens Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury is moving ahead in the ACT. We’ve already got the results from an independent review of therapeutic supports that will be needed to give children alternative pathways to prison, and now we’ve got $795,000 in the 2021-22 ACT Budget to develop and cost the reforms, and to conduct community consultation. 

  • ACT Government officially adopted the Greens’ policy of reducing the incarceration of First Nations women and men to parity with the non-Indigenous community by 2031, in the ACT’s new Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, released in August 2021. 

  • After a long community campaign, our new Greens Attorney-General is appointing a dedicated full-time Coroner to reduce delays for bereaved family, friends and witnesses involved in inquests, and allow a more consistent, restorative approach to coronial proceedings. 

  • The 2021-22 ACT Budget is funding an upgrading the Galambany Circle Sentencing court room, to install culturally appropriate furniture and design, as well as modernising the audio-visual capabilities of the room. The purpose of the Galambany Court is to provide effective and restorative processes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants through community involvement in sentencing. 

  • We’re increasing funding to Legal Aid with $2.5 million over four years to maintain and strengthen their capacity to represent, support and assist vulnerable members of the Canberra community, including front-line service support for victims of family violence and the elderly, and for vulnerable witnesses. 

  • Prior to the announcement of the 2021-22 ACT Budget, which was delayed by COVID, we provided funding certainty to community legal services, with $2 million for local organisations including Canberra Community Law, the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT, the Environmental Defenders Office, Women’s Legal Centre ACT and Care Inc. Financial Counselling Service, while also calling on the federal government to support the ACT’s community legal services. 

  • As Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Disability, the Greens’ Emma Davidson launched the Disability Action and Inclusion Plan 2021-23, setting out key actions ACT Corrective Services will implement to improve access and inclusion for detainees, offenders, staff and members of the community who come into contact with corrective services facilities and services. The Plan builds on the Disability Justice Strategy 2019-2029. 

  • The Disability Justice Strategy Action Plan is already being progressed, including through the release of the Capacity Guidelines and Toolkit developed by Legal Aid ACT. 

  • To ensure vulnerable people have equal access to justice, the 2021-22 Budget has continued funding for the ACT Intermediary Program, which has already helped over 150 child and adult witnesses give evidence to police and in the ACT Magistrates and Supreme Courts. 

  • We’ve also extended the Therapeutic Care Court to hear care and protection matters in the Children’s Court, taking a holistic approach to help reduce the risk of children and young people entering or remaining in the criminal justice system and supporting their families to remain connected and together where it is safe for them to do so. 

  • Functional Family Therapy is also continuing, to support young people coming out of detention in Bimberi.  

  • As mentioned above in the Mental Health section, the COVID-19 community support package that was delivered in September included a boost to mental health supports including in the justice system: $120,000 to increase the capacity of Justice Health Services to support detainees experiencing anxiety and depression, as well as $80,000 to Winnunga Nimmityjah to provide additional mental health services, particularly to First Nations people, at the AMC. 

Drug harm reduction 

  • To help people make informed decisions about their drug use, and to stay safe and well, the Greens want Canberrans to be able to test their pills any time they want to, not just at festivals. A six-month pilot of a fixed pill-testing site will start soon in central Canberra, and the Greens want this to transition automatically into a permanent facility informed by the pilot. 

  • The 2021-22 ACT Budget will expand the existing Needle and Syringe Program and progress the Greens’ call for a medically supervised drug consumption facility, by developing a suitable service model and identifying a potential location. 

  • The Greens’ harm reduction spokesperson, Johnathan Davis MLA, is currently on a Select Committee examining a bill that proposes to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. After encouraging community submissions and hosting public hearings, the Committee is due to report by the end of November 2021. 

  • The Greens are supporting the growth of medicinal drug use by prompting community discussion about the use of psilocybin and MDMA to treat mental illness. An ANU researcher interning with the Greens’ Johnathan Davis ran a survey about community attitudes toward medicinal use of psychedelic drugs, to inform future policymaking in the ACT. 

  • Redevelopment of the Watson Health Precinct will deliver more alcohol and other drug services. Design work to improve the Ted Noffs Foundation and CatholicCare facilities on the site will start soon. 

  • The Watson site will also host a new community-led facility to provide dedicated support to First Nations people who want to address their dependence on alcohol and other drugs. The Government is working with Winnunga Nimmityjah to design a new residential alcohol and other drug rehabilitation facility. 

  • The COVID-19 community support packages announced by ministers including the Greens’ Emma Davidson have supported treating drugs as a health issue, with: $40,000 for the Mental Health Justice Health Alcohol and Drugs Service (MHJHADS) to extend the Homelessness Outreach Team pilot, which supports people with severe mental illness experiencing homelessness; $524,000 for Directions Health Services to meet increased demand for primary care and opioid maintenance treatment for clients who are unable to access pharmacies due to the COVID-19 outbreak; $300,000 for the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy for additional Peer Treatment Support Workers, helping to support people with complex needs who are affected by public health measures, and; $160,000 for flexible alcohol and other drug services to provide additional treatment and counselling support to those with substance abuse conditions. 

Reducing gambling harm 

  • The Greens went to the election committing $5 million to establishing an environmental upgrades fund for Canberra’s community clubs, to help them cut their costs, reduce their reliance on pokies revenue, and ultimately reduce gambling harm. The 2021-22 ACT Budget has delivered the full $5 million, with the Community Clubs Building Energy Efficiency fund to provide rebates of up to $75,000 on energy efficiency improvements at community clubs. 

  • As promised during the election, the Greens Minister for Gaming Shane Rattenbury has established a Community Clubs Ministerial Advisory Council with key stakeholders, to work together on developing a sustainable plan for the future of community clubs that doesn’t rely on gambling harm for revenue. 


 

 

We want a sustainable, connected city where people can stay healthy, enjoy the outdoors and cut emissions, all while getting where they need to go. The Greens’ plans include kickstarting a cycling revolution and ensuring we have the best possible light rail, with a City to Woden light rail express service and by extending stage 2 light rail to Mawson

Connecting Canberra 

  • Greens transport and active travel spokesperson Jo Clay MLA has introduced legislation to the Legislative Assembly to build a culture of care on Canberra’s roads. A car is a vulnerable road user when compared to a truck, but pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are at much greater risk. To deter aggressive driving and provide more protection, Jo’s bill would add an offence of ‘Negligent driving – harm to vulnerable road user’ and quadruple the maximum penalty to a fine of $1600. The cycling community, in particular, has been advocating for such changes since a collision in 2020 that seriously injured a cyclist and saw the driver fined just $393. The legislation is due to be voted on before the end of 2021. 

  • Light Rail Stage 2 is progressing with funding allocated to the Woden light rail stop, utility relocations to start by the end of 2021 and major works to raise London Circuit getting underway in 2022.  

  • As the local Greens MLA for Ginninderra, Jo Clay has secured confirmation that Belconnen will be the next town centre to be part of Canberra’s light rail network. Kippax has been included in the pre-feasibility studies for Light Rail Stage 3, and the Greens will advocate to include Kippax in the initial construction of Stage 3, to ensure West Belconnen isn’t left out of a line that will one day run all the way to the airport. 

  • Local communities, who know their paths best, will be empowered to guide the Government’s active travel improvements. The 2021-22 ACT Budget will deliver: a Household Travel Survey; a detailed model of vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist interactions in the Gungahlin Town Centre, and; an update of the Canberra Strategic Transport Model to reflect 2021 Census data. 

  • Better connecting Canberra with walking and cycling paths will support healthier, safer, zero-emissions transport options. The 2021-22 Budget is investing in a new major cycle route through Braddon to mirror the popular Sullivan’s Creek path on the other side of Northbourne Avenue, a new separated cycling path along Sulwood Drive at the base of Mount Taylor in Kambah, more support for Active Travel and Safety Support for Schools, early design and planning to improve cycle connectivity in the Gungahlin Town Centre, active travel upgrades in Pialligo, and more funding for cycle path maintenance, new community paths and filling in missing links. 

  • The Age Friendly Suburbs program will be expanded to more suburbs, with $2 million in the October 2021 budget to improve paths and crossings for people of all ages and abilities in Reid, Chifley, Scullin and O’Connor. This continues the work that former Greens MLA Amanda Bresnan started when she first introduced the idea in 2008. 

  • The Greens’ Jo Clay used question time in the Legislative Assembly to ask the Transport Minister to guarantee that people moving into the new Molonglo suburb of Whitlam would have regular bus services right away. We are pleased to report that funding to expand bus services to Whitlam has now been provided through the 2021-22 ACT Budget. 


 

We have a plan for delivering a sustainable future for our city. One where we have a waste-free society and a thriving circular economy, and whereeveryone has access to healthy, affordable, locally grown and sustainably produced food.  

Circular economy 

  • After around 14 years of Greens campaigning, we are finally advancing the ACT’s circular economy and reducing potent methane emissions from landfill with a trial of food and organic waste recycling in Belconnen, and scoping for permanent processing facilities. ‘FOGO’ is complementary to the ACT’s incremental ban on single-use plastics, giving biodegradable replacements a new life, once they’re disposed of, as high-quality compost. 

  • The sale and supply of single-use plastic cutlery, drink stirrers, and polystyrene food and beverage containers have now been banned in the ACT, since 1 July 2021. From 1 July 2022 further single-use plastics will be banned including straws (with exemptions for people who need them), fruit and vegetable barrier bags and plastics that never completely decompose. 

  • The legislation banning single-use plastics has also enabled public events in the ACT to be declared as ‘single-use plastic free,’ allowing organisers to arrange alternatives for more single-use plastics than the legislation prohibits. 

  • The ACT Greens have also supported Australian Greens advocacy to legislate against single-use plastics at the national level.  

  • To maintain recycling facilities the Greens supported a temporary extension for the Parkwood green waste site in Belconnen, until a long-term alternative can be found for the facility, which has long been slated to make way for the new suburb of Ginninderry. 

  • Enshrining a Right to Repair is crucial to cutting unnecessary waste and extending the life of products from cars to smartphones. Shane Rattenbury, as the ACT’s Minister for Consumer Affairs, secured Commonwealth, state and territory support for a Productivity Commission inquiry that is due to hand down its final report in October 2021. 

  • Greens spokesperson on Circular Economy, Jo Clay MLA, secured government agreement to investigate growing problem waste streams, specifically solar PV panels, inverters and large batteries, as well as general electric appliances. The government is due to report back to the Legislative Assembly in February 2022, with options and a timeline for establishing a recycling scheme, noting the solar industry will be required to design a nationwide recycling scheme by June 2022, having been listed as a priority for national product stewardship.  

  • We also applaud Canberra’s first tool library, supported by SEE-Change, and repair cafés in Acton, Tuggeranong, Hawker and University of Canberra for encouraging a culture of reuse, building the sharing economy and fostering community connection. 

Food for all 

  • With the Greens’ Rebecca Vassarotti the ACT’s minister responsible for agriculture, we have commenced the first update in many years of the ACT’s agriculture policy, to get on track to grow the ACT’s food security and become Australia’s first food garden city. 

  • As mentioned above under ‘Renters’ rights’ we are currently consulting on our proposal to create a legal presumption that renters do have a right to grow food and compost at their rental properties, unless landlords seek an exemption from ACAT. 


 

We share our community’s desire for a deeper, more participatory democracy. That’s why we have a plan to deliver neighbourhood participatory budgeting to give people the chance to decide how to spend an annual budget for their community, introduce a range of measures to improve and strengthen our democracy and reclaim public space through an ad-free Canberra

Strengthening our democracy 

  • After securing a review of the Electoral Act and the 2020 Election, the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety (including the Greens’ Jo Clay MLA) recommended the government entirely ban roadside electoral advertising in future elections. The official government response is due to Legislative Assembly soon. The ACT Greens have already run two elections without roadside signage, to reduce waste and visual pollution. 

  • Two other Greens proposals the Committee has now recommended to government are to cap total donations at $10k for any individual, corporation or associated entity, and entirely ban political donations from the gambling industry. We eagerly await the formal Government response, to be provided by the Special Minister of State, Labor’s Chris Steel. 

  • In July 2021 the previously legislated ban on political donations from developers came into force. 

  • In line with the Greens’ ad-free Canberra policy, Greens candidate for the federal seat of Canberra Tim Hollo is currently petitioning ACT Government to enforce existing laws and remove outdoor ads that are in breach, remove ads that block windows on buses and trams, introduce a specific offence for roadside advertising that uses parked vehicles, end bus shelter ads and review what ad content is allowed on public transport. You can find and sign the petition here

  • Our Greens MLAs have again spoken out against “call-in” powers that allow the Planning Minister to unilaterally circumvent the usual approval processes to allow particular developments to proceed. While the projects themselves can be important, the Greens believe the use of call-in powers admits a failure of the planning process and shuts out community voices. 

  • Throughout the term Greens MLAs have already sponsored a range of community petitions, to enable local people to exert influence through the formal processes of the Legislative Assembly. 


 

Community sport and other activities help us stay healthy and connected to our friends and our communities. To invest in our community we are working to encourage and support community sport by building a new multi-purpose indoor sports centre in Woden, improving mountain biking tracks and facilities and building a new competition halfpipe and skatepark in Dickson. We will also support community organisations through upgrades to community facilities

Community sport 

  • $950,000 in the 2021-22 ACT Budget will upgrade local sport and recreation facilities with funding for lighting and amenity improvements at Mawson playing fields, Kambah District playing fields, and cricket facilities in Taylor and Melba. 

  • The government is installing and upgrading outdoor equipment so that everyone has access to quality local activity facilities, with $5.3 million to upgrade playgrounds in Kaleen, Ngunnawal, Chisholm, Gordon, Lyons and Aranda, create two new dog parks in Franklin and the Lanyon Valley and refresh existing dog parks in Casey and O'Connor; as well as $4.8 million for improvements along the Tuggeranong Foreshore. 

  • With Shane Rattenbury as the Minister for Water, we’re repairing waterways to improve water quality for people using Canberra’s lakes for fun and watersports like rowing, paddleboarding, swimming, triathlon, sailing and dragon boating. 

  • Further investments in walking and cycling infrastructure (detailed in the ‘Connecting Canberra’ section above) will make it more appealing and easier to access outdoor recreation. 

  • A petition is live now, until the end of 2021 to build a new multi-purpose indoor sports centre, combined with community meeting rooms, in the Woden Town Centre. Sign the petition, sponsored by Greens Member for Murrumbidgee Emma Davidson, here

  • We’ve supported the Government’s continued investments to make the ACT a premier mountain biking destination, including three grants worth a total $100,000 to support an incredible community effort to expand the trail network at Cotter Pines.  

  • Greens spokesperson for sport and recreation Johnathan Davis MLA has secured progress toward re-establishing a sport and recreation peak body, to support the sector through the challenges of COVID-19 and beyond. The government is due to bring an options report back to the Legislative Assembly by December 2021. 

  • The same motion agreed by the Legislative Assembly secured a government commitment to develop a new long-term strategic plan for sport and recreation in the ACT, as well as a comprehensive facilities management plan to ensure the maintenance of existing facilities and establishment of new facilities meets community need. 

  • Johnathan’s motion has prompted a government examination of barriers to participation for Canberrans from low-income households. The Government is due to report back on existing mechanisms and possible additional steps to remove these barriers. 

  • The Government is also due to report back to the Legislative Assembly in 2021 on how, in the context of climate change, it will ensure heat-managed and smoke-free environments at government-owned sporting facilities for the safety of participants and spectators. 


 

The Greens want a Canberra that is truly inclusive, where we foster equitable opportunities for all. We want a Canberra where people who are marginalised for any reason, by way of poverty, disability, age or cultural background are listened to and have their contributions valued. That’s why we have a plan to promote social inclusion, support older people, listen deeply to First Nations People and reduce discrimation for same sex attracted and gender diverse Canberrans.  

Promoting social inclusion 

  • A motion put forward in the Legislative Assembly by Greens MLA Andrew Braddock successfully called on the Government to develop an ACT Social Recovery plan, to address the ongoing social and economic impacts of COVID-19, with the Greens’ Emma Davidson responsible as the Minister for Community Recovery and Emergency Relief. 

  • We’re working to reduce the burden of poverty with $100,000 in the 2021-22 ACT Budget to better coordinate the ACT’s food relief programs, and to better assess community needs. This complements the short-term COVID-19 food relief programs, to improve access to food over the long-term. 

  • The ACT Greens have also been working via National Cabinet and other channels to lobby the Federal Government to increase the JobSeeker payment that keeps people in poverty, and not to end COVID disaster payments too soon, forcing people into situations that may compromise their health. 

  • We’re ensuring ACT Government assistance and concessions are targeted to support people who need it most, with an additional $120,000 for the Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Humanitarian program to provide financial assistance for its clients who hold an ACT Services Access Card, and $118,000 to support a community partnership to provide emergency payments to vulnerable families. 

  • More support is available to help more Canberra households with their energy bills, after we permanently increased the Utilities Concession and expanded the eligibility criteria in mid-2021, while also boosting the Utilities Hardship Fund by $1 million over four years. 

  • The Government is improving support for multicultural communities with funding in the 2021-22 ACT Budget to develop and deliver the Multicultural Recognition Act, which will enshrine the existing Multicultural Advisory Council in legislation and establish a Multicultural Charter for the ACT. 

  • A motion put forward in the Legislative Assembly by the Greens spokesperson on multiculturalism, Andrew Braddock MLA, has seen the government commit to: providing support to multicultural Canberrans to participate more in community consultation and grants processes; to invest in Canberra’s Community Language Schools, and; to ensure the ACT meets the 10 National Settlement Outcomes Standards for new migrants, on measures including education, employment, health and wellbeing, housing finance and social support. 

  • We are supporting the Official Visitor Scheme with additional funding for the Human Rights Commission, to enable the Official Visitor to conduct more visits to monitor the delivery of services in corrections, mental health, disability, children and young people, and housing assistance. 

  • More support will be available to LGBTIQA+ Canberrans with additional funding of $623,000 over four years for A Gender Agenda to continue their work with vulnerable trans, gender diverse and intersex Canberrans. This includes peer support, intersex specific project work and the peer-based navigation and providing The Friday Centre information service. 

  • The COVID-19 community support packages announced by ministers including the Greens’ Emma Davidson also included: $20,000 to A Gender Agenda to increase their delivery of advocacy and support services, as well as information and resources tailored to the Intersex, Trans and Gender Diverse community during the COVID lockdown; $40,000 for Meridian to scale-up existing services to support at-risk Canberrans in the LGBTIQA+ community at particular risk of heightened mental ill-health, and; $40,000 to Multicultural Hub Canberra for COVID-safe, online delivery of services to support Canberra’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities to stay connected and access culturally appropriate mental health services

  • The Greens’ proposal to equip community sector organisations with the up-to-date technology they need to support Canberrans is now a reality, with the new Technology Upgrade Fund already providing close to $500,000 to 37 specific projects, via our Greens Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Emma Davidson. 

Supporting people with disability and older Canberrans 

  • We were so proud to have our Greens Minister for Disability, Emma Davidson, standing with the ACT’s disability community to stop Independent Assessments in the NDIS. Emma led the vocal opposition from the states and territories, ultimately defeating the plan to preserve choice, control and continuity over services that best meet the needs of that individual person.  

  • A major national housing reform, (also mentioned above under ‘A decent home for all’) won with the help of ACT Greens Minister Rebecca Vassarotti, will ensure all new housing is accessible and able to be modified to meet the needs of all people, regardless of age, disability or other factors. The challenge of finding affordable housing is made much worse by the extremely limited stock of accessible housing in Canberra. The ACT Government’s new commitment, led by the Greens, to make all new housing built to be accessible will make Canberra a better place to live for people with disability and limited mobility. Better still, the requirement to meet accessibility standards will be written into the National Construction Code in 2022, to improve housing choices across Australia. 

  • As part of delivering the Disability Justice Strategy, a ‘community of practice’ has been developed with disability liaison officers to help people with disability better navigate local systems of support

  • Minister Davidson has distributed funding through two rounds grants to support respite and recovery for people with disability and their carers during COVID-19, with organisations including Meridian, the Aged and Carer Advocacy Service and the Multicultural Hub helping their LGBTIQA+, women, aged and multicultural clients to access timely support. 

  • A COVID-19 community support packaged delivered in August included $40,000 for Carers ACT in recognition that carers, and the people they care for, are at particular risk of isolation and mental ill-health due to the COVID lockdown. People with disability are at higher risk of significant ill-health from COVID-19, and many carers have disabilities or chronic conditions themselves. 

  • A further community support package in September included $60,000 for disability advocacy organisations to ensure people with disability remain supported throughout the pandemic, with $30,000 going to Advocacy for Inclusion and $30,000 to ACT Disability, Aged & Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS).  

  • An additional $1.65 million was allocated to ADACAS and Advocacy for Inclusion in the 2021-22 ACT Budget, to increase their capacity to provide targeted advocacy support and services to people with disability

  • Funding in the 2021-22 ACT Budget to improve footpaths and do more footpath maintenance will improve accessibility for Canberrans of all ages and abilities (detailed in the ‘Connecting Canberra’ section above). 

  • Continuing the weekday Flexible Bus Service, will support older Canberrans, people with disability and their carers to attend medical and other appointments, with pick-up and drop-off at or near their homes. 

  • In April 2021 we commenced specific laws against elder abuse and the abuse of vulnerable people, with an amendment to the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT). 

  • As part of delivering the Age Friendly City Plan, the government has run five workshops with older Canberrans to promote safety in the home. 

Listening deeply to First Nations people 

  • We’re excited to be recognising language, cultural and spiritual identity with early planning of the Ngunnawal Language Centre getting underway. Funding in the 2021-22 ACT Budget will be used to undertake consultation and co-design work with the local First Nations community, and to support work with the Winanggaay Ngunnawal Language Group. 

  • ACT Government officially adopted the Greens’ policy of reducing the incarceration of First Nations women and men to parity with the non-Indigenous community by 2031, in the ACT’s new Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, released in August 2021. 

  • To deliver on the ACT’s Closing the Gap commitments, a $20 million Healing and Reconciliation Fund has been created, which will also support community-led processes and supports in child and family services, justice, housing and disability. 

  • A new avenue to uphold the rights of First Nations people will be created with the establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner. $311,000 in the 2021-22 ACT Budget will establish this new position specifically to address adverse experiences of young First Nations people in the ACT child protection system. 

  • $15 million is now set aside to build new purpose-built accommodation for Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation on their current premises in Wanniassa, to enable them to continue delivering important youth support services and integrated services for families. 

  • An additional $80,000 from one of the COVID-19 community support packages announced during lockdown was shared between Gugan Gulwan and Yeddung Mura, to provide additional counselling and wellbeing supports to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans

  • With the 2021-22 ACT Budget, Greens Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson has fully funded the ACT Greens’ $2 million commitment to creating a First Nations mental health, suicide prevention and postvention program (also listed above under ‘Mental Health’). 

  • More Ngunnawal Rangers have been employed by the ACT Government to manage land, water and environment resources with First Nations ways of knowing, being and doing. 

  • Greens Heritage Minister Rebecca Vassarotti has helped to ensure First Nations people have a voice in conserving local cultural, natural and First Nations heritage by appointing Ngunnawal elder Caroline Hughes as the First Nations representative on the ACT Heritage Council in March 2021. 


 

Education is critical to the future of our society, planet and next generation. That’s why we will promote schools as communities, to deliver a world class education system that is inclusive, safe and supportive. We will also support students’ right to attend school strikes and introduce 15 hours per week of free early childhood education for all three year old children

Empowering young people 

  • Our MLAs Johnathan Davis and Andrew Braddock are actively working with young people and community groups on lowering the voting age to 16. The proposal in our submission to a Legislative Assembly inquiry in 2021 was rejected by the committee, but the Greens representative on the committee Jo Clay MLA tabled a dissenting report, to state her view that the voting age should be lower than 18. Stay tuned as we continue to work toward empowering young people to have a say in their democracy and their future. 

  • Schools and teachers in the ACT now have ongoing support from the ACT Government to allow students to attend peaceful protests and demonstrations, after a motion put forward by the Greens spokesperson on education, Johnathan Davis MLA, was agreed to by the Legislative Assembly. The government will also consider supporting Elections ACT and the ACT Legislative Assembly education offices to strengthen civics and democracy education for ACT school students. 

Quality education 

  • As of July 2021 the Greens have successfully banned corporate banking programs from ACT schools. A Legislative Assembly motion put forward by Greens education spokesperson Johnathan Davis MLA was unanimously agreed to in February 2021, responding to a review by ASIC that found programs like the Commonwealth Bank’s Dollarmites program do little to help students with financial literacy. Instead, public school teachers will use Money Smart resources developed by ASIC in conjunction with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Report Authority. 

  • With Greens support the ACT is continuing the rollout of free universal early childhood education, targeting funding in the 2021-22 ACT Budget to provide two days per week, 48 weeks per year, to three-year-olds who are experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage. The Greens want to accelerate this rollout for the developmental wellbeing of all young kids, and to support women’s economic recovery from COVID-19. 

  • The Greens went to the election with a plan to dedicate $15 million to ensure children have safe and healthy learning environments, free from hazardous materials. The ACT Government has now committed $14 million over four years to accelerate the removal of hazardous materials from schools, essentially delivering our commitment. 

  • The Government is responding to growing demand on ACT schools with funding to build a new high school in Taylor, prepare for a new high school in Kenny, expand Margaret Hendy School, add nine new modular learning centres, commence design works for a new primary school in Strathnairn, modernise Narrabundah College and prepare to modernise Garran Primary School. 

  • The Greens said there should be more teacher-librarians to support students with their digital literacy and research skills, and the 2021-22 ACT Budget has dedicated almost $5 million to employing more teacher librarians starting in 2022, and scaling up through to 2025. 

  • The Greens also welcomed the Government’s decision to form a Teacher Shortage Taskforce with the Australian Education Union, after a ACT public school teachers told an AEU survey that their own wellbeing and the educational wellbeing of local students was at risk. 

  • Innovative curriculum options to meet the varied needs of ACT students are being progressed, with the pilot of a program to help 50 senior secondary students complete an apprenticeship. 

  • Support for the mental health and wellbeing of students is being increased with an additional 25 youth and social workers, ongoing free and confidential legal advice to public college students and a trial of free breakfast and lunch for vulnerable students. 

Last updated October 2021