Page 1074 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 3 May 2022

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When it comes to voice, representation and engagement, 33 per cent of YourSay panellists are over the age of 55, which is five per cent over and above the census population statistic from 2016 of 28 per cent. Older Canberrans are also regularly featured in ACT government communications, particularly in relation to COVID-19, and the achievements of older Canberrans are celebrated through the Chief Minister’s Gold Awards, which recognise long-term contributions to the ACT.

In June of 2021 the ACT government worked with the community and local business in Weston Creek to hold a panel and expo for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to raise awareness of supports and pathways available for older people in our community who may be experiencing abuse.

The ACT government is pleased to support grassroots intergenerational initiatives through the ACT Children’s Week Committee and the ACT seniors grants, including the intergenerational penpal project and the combining of seniors and children’s gymnastics classes.

We know that volunteering is a critical avenue for older people to contribute to the common good and participate in our community. The ACT government is providing volunteering opportunities for older Canberrans, in particular through the City Presentation Volunteer Program for Urban Parks and Places, and Domestic Animal Services.

In fact, people over the age of 61 have proved to be the most dedicated and consistent group of volunteers. The Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate has also commenced the TCCS volunteers gateway, making it easier for people to sign up for volunteering, especially those who require extra assistance.

Within the ACT public service, employees over the age of 60 make up nine per cent of the workforce. The ACT public service approach to flexible work is supporting older people to continue to work more flexibly and/or transition to retirement in a way that suits the individual.

Work on a refresh and update to the wellbeing dashboard, as part of the wellbeing indicators, to best understand and report on the experiences of older Canberrans, is scheduled to get underway this year. I also look forward to the recommencement of work on a campaign to enhance employment opportunities for older Canberrans among local business, which has been on hold to allow further consideration in light of COVID-related impacts on workforce and business.

The second focus area—Safe, Secure and Free from Abuse—relates to ensuring that older Canberrans can live free from discrimination, abuse and violence, and exploitation. In relation to actions identified here, the following action was completed in 2021. Amendments were passed in the Courts and Other Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2021 and are now in effect. These amendments give the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal additional powers to provide compensation and other remedies for the misuse of substitute decision-making powers. This means a separate action no longer needs to be pursued through the Supreme Court.

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