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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2991..


MR BARR (continuing):

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Draft strategic plan for positive ageing

Ministerial statement

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (3.26), by leave: It is my pleasure today to report on the progress on the development of the strategic plan for positive ageing and to update the Assembly on the initial public consultations for the plan.

The ACT, like Australia generally, is experiencing an increasingly ageing population. A strategic plan for positive ageing is a most important piece of policy which will impact on both the social and the economic shape of the territory in years to come. As individuals and as a community we need to examine our approach to ageing issues and appreciate that ageing is a lifelong process. I am sure that the chuckle coming out of Mrs Dunne is because all of a sudden the stark reality has hit home and it is starting to show.

Mrs Dunne: That's a quaint turn of phrase.

MR HARGREAVES: It is starting to show, I might say. It is starting to show. She is joining the ranks. She is joining the ranks of the blondes yet again.

Mr Hanson: What a revelation! Who would have thought that ageing is a lifelong process?

MR HARGREAVES: I thought I would indicate to those opposite the bleeding obvious, because quite often they need it, Madam Assistant Speaker. I also express my disappointment that the shadow minister for ageing is not here to hear this; he is obviously sitting somewhere getting considerably older.

As individuals in the community we need to examine these approaches to ageing issues, as I said, but we will go over it again.

We need to live our lives in a way that prepares us for the challenges and the opportunities of our older years. In less than two years the first of the baby boomers will be eligible for the age pension. While the ACT has the second youngest median age of all Australian jurisdictions, it also has one of the fastest growing proportions of people aged 65 and over.

Whatever age we use for identifying seniors, whether it be 55, 60, 65 or 75, the fact is that what is regarded as being older will vary between individuals. People are living healthier and longer lives. People who reach 60 years, for example, do not necessarily consider themselves to be aged or ready for retirement. Mrs Dunne sits there as a perfect example of what I am speaking about.


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