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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 3 Hansard (22 March) . . Page.. 1162..

These are just some of the current and future initiatives and programs that the government is supporting in the area of housing for older Canberrans.

I have before the Assembly at the moment my bill in relation to retirement village regulation, which I am sure members are aware of and interested in. I am sure they are looking forward to the debate on this bill at a later stage.

We all know that the safety and wellbeing of our older citizens is a major consideration for this government's planning processes.

Through our elder abuse prevention program, we aim to reduce and prevent incidents of elder abuse through community awareness raising, accessible information and referral systems, service response guidelines and staff training. The program is coordinated by the Office for Ageing, with advice from the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing and the Elder Abuse Prevention Network, which includes representatives from the Human Rights Commission and various community sectors and organisations. This is an important program that seeks to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our community. I encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the program.

Of course, there are many ways that we work together as members in this place to promote the needs of older Canberrans. Another way in which I work as a local member for Ginninderra to improve the lives of older Canberrans is through my representation on the maintenance of footpaths and other local infrastructure, such as parks and street furniture. It is important that we remain active and involved in the community, as other members have said here today in this place. For instance, if a person believes that he or she is unable to walk safely in their own suburb, they may be disinclined to go out.

Socialisation is of concern, as Ms Bresnan has just been saying. It is certainly a concern of this government. A number of strategies and policies to prevent older people from becoming isolated in their own homes have been initiated by this government. These include community transport programs; the ACTION gold card; the active transport objectives in the transport policy; assistance to seniors clubs; dedicated space in older persons unit complexes for social activity; and the support of Seniors Week, which we have just been talking about, and associated activities.

I would like to join with other members in this place in congratulating COTA and all those people who helped organise the seniors breakfast on Monday morning—and everyone who has been so busy in getting together that program of many and varied activities. I hope that people are able to avail themselves of those many activities.

It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge the many older Canberrans who work as volunteers and family carers. This activity is not limited just to older Canberrans; we know that there are many young people who volunteer and who are caring for family members. However, I recognise that enormous effort and an enormous contribution are made by older Canberrans as volunteers and as carers of family members. They do so much to improve and sustain our wellbeing.

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