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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 November 2010) . . Page.. 5599 ..

government that is aloof to these concerns or that simply pays lip-service to these concerns. It is important that the concerns put forward in these forums are taken seriously by government and by all members of the Assembly so that we can better understand the needs of our ageing population and better understand what are some of the policy responses and some of the actions that we need to take as a community to better serve those who have served us for so many years of their lives.

MS BURCH (Brindabella) (5.51): I would also like to thank Ms Bresnan for bringing this motion on today, which seeks to give a greater voice to older Canberrans in informing government policy and strategic direction.

As Ms Bresnan will know, the ACT government has done a lot of work around this very objective, and we have made significant progress in recent years—most notably with the release in December 2009 of the ACT strategic plan for positive ageing 2010-14, Towards an age-friendly city, which will inform government policy to fulfil the goals outlined in that strategic plan.

From the outset, I will say that the ACT government supports the establishment of an older persons assembly. Last month, the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing resolved to explore options for conducting an older persons assembly in the ACT, and agreed to discuss this concept further at its next meeting on 30 November.

In talking about giving our senior citizens a voice, it is necessary to first recognise the valuable role that the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing plays in informing government. Through their regular meetings, they are a very useful resource for government, and I hope that Assembly members acknowledge and recognise the council’s hard work in this respect.

The government also works closely in partnership with the seniors peak bodies, seniors organisations and a diverse range of individuals to address ageing issues, improve services and formulate effective ageing policies. These partnerships and dialogues have already informed a number of noteworthy policies and outcomes, and I would like to touch on a couple of them.

The Office for Ageing is involved in developing a range of innovative and diverse initiatives, programs and priorities that support positive or active ageing in our community. In June this year, Canberra was named a member of the World Heath Organisation’s global network of age-friendly cities, joining over 50 other cities, including New York, Manchester and Brussels, as one of the founding members of the newly formed global network of age-friendly cities. Canberra is the only Australian capital city included in this network, and our inclusion reinforces this government’s commitment to taking active steps to support our older residents.

In October this year, the seniors information online was launched as part of a response to concerns from seniors that they could not find the information they wanted. The ACT seniors grants program continues to support programs that encourage social inclusion and participation of older people in our community.

In October, we announced 13 projects to be supported in 2010, including a program to connect school-children with seniors in residential aged-care homes. The Life’s

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