Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 November 2010) . . Page.. 5596 ..
have a right to social, economic and political participation and to their independence to whatever degree they feel able.
I acknowledge that the ACT government has released the positive ageing strategy 2010-14 that looks into addressing such themes as providing information about healthy living, retirement planning, community groups and clubs. However, to what degree these initiatives will be rolled out and when is unclear. Strategic indicators for government strategies need to be more refined in order to establish if and when services are delivering.
Some themes that could be explored in an older people’s assembly include how we can better support creative and artistic programs for older people which also fit into the issues relating to ageing in place and preventative health. Other topics that could be explored include how to improve existing community aged care programs aimed at supporting older people in their homes, designing homes that enable people to safely age in place, ensuring that appropriate aged care services are provided for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and better transport options. Again, I would like to stress that the agenda needs to be developed by older people and not by politicians.
Across Australia there are a number of assemblies that provide a platform for policies to be formed. There are many highly active and representative groups in the ACT who should be involved in a steering group or another process for the older people’s assembly. This would include peak groups such as the Council on the Ageing and National Seniors, plus other organisations such as Anglicare and Alzheimer’s Australia. We also have the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, which I imagine would play a role.
The changing age and the social profiles of Australia’s population are widely acknowledged. Less evident in this public discussion are the changing expectations of that population. Crucial to this fact is that older Australians and their families need to be partners in the design and management of the types of services they receive. This is what positive ageing should be about, including providing opportunities for older people to engage in policies that affect their lives.
What I have highlighted today is why an older people’s assembly would benefit the ACT. The logistics of setting up an older people’s assembly in the ACT obviously need to be considered, including who or what organisations would be involved. A steering group could propose ways in which a report could be compiled, and the older people’s assembly could consider if this should be an annual event.
I will conclude by restating that this is a positive opportunity for the ACT. The issues I have spoken about today affect us all, whether it be for the sheer fact that we are all ageing from the day we are born or that we have older loved ones that need our care and support. I would hope that this is a motion that receives support from all parties in the Assembly.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (5.43): I would like to thank Ms Bresnan for bringing forward this motion today. I think it is a very important