Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1710 ..
at every level. As I said, we are facing a very real challenge in relation to the ageing of our population, the result of a decline in fertility rates, an increase in life expectancy and the ageing of the baby boomer generation.
As the population ages, people are expected to live longer, continue to actively participate in the paid or voluntary workforce, beyond what is traditionally the retirement age, and maintain a high level of general health and wellbeing. The ACT government is committed to responding to the needs of an ageing population, such as the health and wellbeing of older Canberrans, including the impacts of disability, housing and accommodation, support services for older people, transport and work and retirement issues, including ongoing employment opportunities and planning for retirement.
It is also worth noting that the ACT previously had quite a transient population, with Canberrans more likely to be without the constant support of extended family members. However, this trend is changing, with more and more people choosing to retire in the ACT or returning to Canberra after initially moving elsewhere to retire.
It is also expected that many people will seek to downsize their current living arrangements. For many older people in our community, remaining in the family home, large enough to raise a family and set on a reasonable-size block, may present challenges that, if not solved, may have a detrimental effect on one’s wellbeing. However, as we are remaining healthier and more active in our community as we age, it was found during the consultation process that people contemplating a move to a retirement village may not do so until their 80th year and beyond. This phenomenon poses particular challenges for those managing retirement village living. As I said last year, because of this, it is important that individuals are able to make informed choices that continue to maximise their living arrangements and their independence as they grow older.
The ACT government continues to support positive ageing through a number of strategies, as we know. The Stanhope government has a range of initiatives to make downsizing more affordable for older Canberrans, to help people adapt their housing and to age in place.
In relation to aged care and independent living property developments, the ACT government is committed to working with the building industry and aged-care providers to reduce the time it takes to deliver high-quality aged persons accommodation. The whole-of-government case management approach has assisted proponents on virtually all projects.
However, I, as you know, have taken a personal interest in the welfare of people who have chosen to live in a retirement village environment, as a number of matters of considerable concern in relation to their living arrangements have been raised with me over some time.
When I first started to look into the issue of retirement villages, I found that legislation existed in every other state and territory in Australia that regulated this industry. In the ACT, it is currently governed under a code of practice, the Fair