Page 1167 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022

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I am pleased to report that members of the MACA bring a wealth of experience, expertise and networks as volunteers across a range of areas. A map of MACA’s networks and experience has indicated strong links into the arts and creative community, the multicultural community, the health sector, aged care, the energy and water sectors, and a range of community sector and membership-based organisations. It is from this strong foundation that, almost a year into its term, MACA has provided timely, responsive and relevant advice on the challenges and experiences of older Canberrans throughout COVID-19, as well as presented its key priorities for proactive advice and work to the ACT government.

Just one month into MACA’s term, the ACT went into lockdown. MACA took to this challenge, providing real-time feedback on the many and varied COVID-19 issues felt by older Canberrans and acting as a sounding board on the continuing ACT government response. Acknowledging the evolving COVID-19 situation, MACA continues to provide advice to me on how to support older Canberrans during COVID, as well as providing feedback and insights to inform the ACT government’s social recovery, including the impacts of and role of older Canberrans as part of this social recovery.

In addition to MACA providing advice and feedback on COVID-19 needs and impacts, they have also developed a forward-looking plan on areas of advice and action. This plan encompasses areas of work which MACA has collectively agreed as being the council’s priorities for its term. It is my privilege today to be able to table a summary of MACA’s work plan and provide this overview.

For this term, MACA will be targeted in its work, and has identified two priority goals to advise me on the following areas: the promotion of positive ageing and tackling age discrimination in the community, policymaking and social systems; and the ACT’s COVID-19 recovery and support of older Canberrans.

Underpinning these goals are two focus priority areas. Focus area 1 is supports and services for older people to live the best life they can. To this end, MACA will focus on advising in the following areas: promoting positive ageing through research and sharing of best practice; monitoring the Age-Friendly City Plan, which I welcome as an important piece of community engagement, as well as an accountability mechanism for the government to older Canberrans; advocating and providing advice on the housing needs of older Canberrans; advocating to relevant bodies on the social inclusion and rights of those in the community and residential aged-care; advocating on the health and mental wellbeing needs of older Canberrans, which I welcome as an important intersection with my portfolio responsibilities for mental health; and advocating on the needs of, and impacts on, older consumers of changes to energy consumption and use as a result of technology changes and climate change.

Focus area 2 of MACA’s work plan is for older people to be socially active and included. To this end, MACA will focus on advising in the following areas: identifying, promoting and growing arts and creative initiatives in Canberra by and for older Canberrans; seeking opportunities to promote intergenerational initiatives; advocating for and supporting the enhancement of ACT government information to

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