Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 October 2022) . . Page.. 3183 ..
when the government repeatedly offers a particular review as a model that is the model that must be followed. End of story.
That sums up this worn-out government and this lacklustre budget: appear to be consultative but only agree to community requests that match government priorities; keep the goals modest, with outcomes that are difficult to measure; when outcomes are not reached, blame those who just cannot see what progress the government has really achieved; and for heaven’s sake, do not collect data that might further expose this government’s mounting failures and repeated fizzles.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (11.21): I rise today to speak on Appropriation Bill 2022-2023 as it relates to my shadow portfolios of seniors and women. I start by saying that seniors have come to expect very little from this Labor-Greens government, and it is no wonder when you look at this recent budget, because, once again this year, we have seen no new initiatives for older Canberrans—just more of the same.
It is just repeat on repeat. There is no new thinking, despite the government acknowledging, time and time again, how severely our older Canberrans have been impacted by COVID; despite the fact that according to the 2021 census results, the proportion of Canberrans aged 60 to 75 has increased from around eight per cent on the previous census to 12.6 per cent of the total ACT population; and despite the fact that Canberrans live longer than other Australians, which was also highlighted in the recent census results.
So we should be giving back to our seniors, and we should be doing more to ensure that they can age gracefully with their independence and dignity. Many of the main issues that older Canberrans come to me about are very simple ones. It would not take a lot of effort to fix these issues and make their lives that bit easier and better. An obvious one is the lack of communication between Access Canberra and the ACT Transport Authority. A number of times I have been contacted by older Canberrans, upset that they had been told that their licence will be suspended if they do not provide a medical certificate to the ACT Transport Authority, despite them having done so several times already. This is very distressing for some of our older Canberrans. Their licence is a big part of maintaining their independence. Most of us want to do the right thing. When we are asked to provide the information or the documentation, we do. To be told that we have not provided it, is quite distressing.
Other issues include basic maintenance such as having safe and accessible footpaths to walk on. They are simple issues but ones that really impact older Canberrans. Another government service that matters to seniors is public transport. When it is accessible it helps older Canberrans to keep their independence. A lot of constituents have contacted me about their access to off-peak public transport, which limits their independence because they have to pay for the peak period. They would like it to be more in line with some other jurisdictions.
Recently, in a question on notice, I asked the minister about whether frontline staff such as bus drivers had received dementia-friendly training. Unfortunately, she could not provide a straight answer; it was very disappointing. This does not recognise the huge impact this can have on older Canberrans, and carers and family members of