Page 3222 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 October 2022
decision-making on issues affecting them, through their engagement with both the Age-Friendly City Plan and the older persons mental health and wellbeing strategy.
To Prue Power, Cathy Hope, Louise Bannister, Joanna Cochrane, Christine Leopardi, Jenny Mobbs, Philip Piggin, Wendy Prowse, Charles Sage, Juliette Spurrett, Jane Timbrell, and Thi Nha Tran, I say thank you for the work that you do, and I look forward to many more conversations about how we can support older Canberrans, end ageism and celebrate growing older.
DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (3.18): I am pleased to speak today to Ms Lawder’s motion and Minister Davidson’s amendment. Older Canberrans are an important part of our community, and I welcome the remarks by Minister Davidson about the work underway across government to support a better Canberra for our seniors. I also welcome the continued work that Minister Steel has been undertaking through the Age-Friendly Suburbs Program.
Ms Lawder pointed out that the number of Canberrans over the age of 55 is growing. Some 60,000 Canberrans are over the age of 65, as per the 2021 census. As a community and as a government, we must continue thinking about the ways we work with older Canberrans to get around our city and be able to access the services that they need each day.
I welcome the inclusion of Chifley in the Age-Friendly Suburbs Program—a suburb that is in my electorate of Murrumbidgee—alongside Reid, Scullin and O’Connor. Funding has been allocated for improvements to footpaths, bus stops, intersections, curve ramps and median strips, to make these suburbs better for older Canberrans. Local residents often tell me about the difficulties they face in our older suburbs where there are missing links or repairs needed. I encourage my constituents to give me feedback and let the government know their priorities as part of the program.
This year’s theme of the International Day of Older Persons was resilience of older persons in a changing world. This is an important theme which reflects the difficulties that older people have faced in recent years and will face into the future.
Through COVID and growing digitisation, there are some challenges emerging for older people that had not existed before. As the community becomes more reliant on technology to get things done, we must not forget about older people in our community who are facing a larger than ordinary shift in the way they live their life.
Part of this challenge is making our services better and more accessible for residents, and bringing every Canberran, no matter their age, along on the journey with us. I note the work that Minister Cheyne has been doing with Access Canberra to make the service centres welcoming and inclusive places for those who live with dementia. This is important work that reflects the work we must all do to make sure everyone in our community can feel safe and included.
I am pleased that we continue to work across government to improve the day-to-day lives of our older Canberrans, and I welcome the views of older Canberrans as we work towards achieving a better Canberra for everyone.