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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 985 ..


stopped and let her off pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so she then had to find a way to get home. The opposite of that was that on another occasion when a similar thing happened the bus driver went out of their way to drop this person with dementia where they needed to be. Those are two very similar instances with quite different results for the people concerned.

A little bit of awareness training would be really useful for some of our front-line staff. That may be at some of our Access Canberra places. Bus drivers are another good example. These things are not too tricky to implement. We are talking about other residents of Canberra, our friends and our family, who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect as well. These small actions can make such a difference to vulnerable members of our community. I really look forward to hearing the contributions to this motion from my colleagues today, which has the capacity to make quite a difference for people in our community living with dementia and improve social inclusion and participation for all Canberrans. I very much hope my motion is supported today.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (4.01): I rise to speak to the motion put forward by Ms Lawder and to speak to the amendment circulating in my name. I thank Ms Lawder for raising this important issue with the Assembly.

The ACT government is committed to ensuring that all Canberrans, including those with dementia, are supported to remain socially included and active, valued members of the community. We know that a big part of this is ensuring that our infrastructure and design meets the needs of people with dementia. As you would all be aware, dementia is not something experienced just by older people; however, it is more common among older people. As Ms Lawder noted, the early symptoms may not be immediately obvious.

Perhaps, then, it is more progressive and inclusive to talk about universal design and ensuring that Canberra is a universally designed city. Universal design creates a more inclusive world by ensuring that an environment can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people. The principles of universal design can be applied to products, buildings and open spaces, as well as learning programs, services, policies and all kinds of practices. Universal design is also part of conversations about sustainability, resilience, health and wellbeing. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits—from our younger citizens to our oldest.

Making Canberra a more dementia friendly and universally designed, inclusive city is broader and more comprehensive than the actions listed in any one plan. However, I do welcome the opposition raising the importance of the Age-Friendly City Plan 2020-2024, and its role in supporting the inclusion of those living with dementia in particular. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the good work done by my former Greens colleague, Amanda Bresnan, who first raised the issue of age-friendly suburbs as far back as 2008. I note that her initial work has been built upon over time, with the need for further age-friendly improvements in our shopping centres and


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