Page 1168 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022

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and with older Canberrans; exploring and defining alternative models and opportunities related to the creation of community hubs; facilitating stronger connections among people working in the field of dementia in the ACT and region to support the Age-Friendly City Plan’s action on dementia-friendly design; and, importantly, supporting the ACT government’s continuing and evolving COVID-19 response.

As part of their advice and advocacy, MACA will engage with the ACT government’s budget considerations to lift and highlight issues of importance to older Canberrans. Enhancing community engagement and participation in such processes is key to being a voice for older Canberrans. I am wholly supportive of MACA’s work plan for this term and welcome their advice and activities on these priorities, which are areas ripe with opportunity and rich potential to meaningfully impact the lives of older Canberrans.

In particular, I would like to make some brief comments on some of the priorities identified by MACA. In positive ageing, MACA recognises that negative stereotypes and misconceptions about ageing drive age discrimination and ageism and are a key barrier to older Canberrans being able to live the best life possible. A strengths-based approach to policy development and program and service design will have a more positive impact on older Canberrans.

On this topic, I would like to recognise the recent Never Too Old to Play Outside event held at Haig Park on 2 April. Organised by the City Renewal Authority in collaboration with COTA ACT and the University of Canberra, Never Too Old was a unique event catering to the most seasoned users of our public spaces. I commend all involved for facilitating this age-friendly use of public space.

On intergenerational initiatives, COVID-19 has furthered some of the age-related silos and generation gaps in our community. Research on intergenerational initiatives and connections consistently demonstrates their benefit to the health, fulfilment and wellbeing of the older and younger alike. By addressing and overcoming age-based divisions, intergenerational connection enriches our whole community.

Regarding community hubs for the future, the work of MACA here will no doubt complement and add value to the moves towards community and digital hubs outlined in CBR Switched On, the ACT’s Economic Development Priorities 2022-2025. On dementia-friendly design, MACA’s engagement here will be an excellent and welcome addition to the solid foundation from the Age-Friendly City Plan’s progress in this space.

I would be remiss if I did not put on the table that MACA have signalled to me very strongly that they intend to engage with the broader community over the course of their term, and I very much welcome that. MACA have purposely set broad priorities to ensure that their activities and advice can be shaped by their ongoing engagement with the many and diverse older Canberrans.

In light of COVID-19, Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, an independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has stated:

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