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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1401 ..

It’s about sharing skills between generations and is ideal for young parents or families without an extended family nearby. SuperGrands is all about strengthening skills that families want to develop.

The Men’s Shed, which I mentioned earlier, is another one of the programs provided. One is run out of Tuggeranong and the other is run out of the Lions Youth Haven at Kambah. Men’s Sheds are not solely for older people. However, they do provide a space for men from all backgrounds, age groups and social mixes to share their knowledge, skills and experience while pursuing other interests. Again, it is one of those great programs which addresses the isolation of people and brings them together as a community.

Another area requiring a greater focus in regard to older people is people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This is a group of people particularly at risk of social isolation as they may not feel confident in attending something like a 55 Plus Club or a Men’s Shed. Communities@Work do try to match their volunteers to people from similar backgrounds, which does then encourage people from other backgrounds to engage socially.

With an ageing population and demand on existing health services, finding effective ways to prevent disease, illness and injury needs to be central to our planning. Volunteering enhances seniors’ health and strengthens their support networks. Many seniors who volunteer also feel personal satisfaction from contributing their knowledge and skills to help others. This provides opportunities for older people to share previous experiences with younger people and it also provides opportunities for seniors to learn new skills.

We also do need to look at how volunteers are supported and how organisations that run these programs are funded to support them. There is currently no allowance, for example, in the home and community care program for volunteers and the programs under the HACC program form a significant part of those services which are for older people and also older people who are volunteers. So there does need to be a much clearer model for funding to support volunteers.

As I said earlier, during National Seniors Week we should be celebrating all of the contributions that older people make to the ACT community. The health and wellbeing of seniors is linked to the health and wellbeing of the communities in which we live—communities that are safe, inclusive and supportive, and encourage seniors’ participation in community life. With the thousands of volunteers who give tirelessly, seniors have provided an anchor of support for many organisations and individuals and they need to be commended for this.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (3.37): I thank Ms Porter for bringing this motion here today. Ms Porter referred to the ACT strategic plan for positive ageing, which I had the pleasure of launching in December last year. The aim of this, the first ACT strategic plan for positive ageing, is to create an age-friendly city, a place where active ageing is encouraged.

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