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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 991 ..


To support their innovative work, the government is working with The Neighbourhood to find a suitable site in Canberra. In March this year, Deputy Chief Minister Berry met with the board of The Neighbourhood to hear about the project and to discuss options. At that meeting, Minister Berry connected the board with officials who will continue to engage and support The Neighbourhood with information about possible sites. The government will continue to support The Neighbourhood, engage with them as their proposal develops and help them to find a suitable location.

Finally, while talking about dementia, it would be remiss if I did not recognise the brilliant and dedicated families and carers who have loved ones below the age of 65 with dementia. This can impact on people even in their 30s. There are an estimated 400 people who have been diagnosed with younger onset dementia living in the ACT. Without a medical breakthrough, this is expected to grow to 780 by 2058.

The ACT government provides about $270,000 per annum to Dementia Australia specifically to provide social support, counselling and advocacy, as well as support through the Community Assistance and Support Program. These people, the families and carers, should not be forgotten in this important debate. I know that none of my colleagues have done or would do that.

Improving our built environment and social supports is an important and ongoing body of work for the community and for government. It formed a pillar of our health policy platform for ACT Labor at the last election, but more needs to be done. More can always be done. Minister Davidson has talked about the work that is happening. I think that she put it very well when talking about the broader need for an inclusive community, universal design and universal access.

I have only touched on the surface of the range of services and the dedicated and brilliant workers that improve the lives of people living with dementia, and their carers and families that support them. I can only say thank you to those people. Thank you to Ms Lawder for bringing this motion to the Assembly. Thank you to Minister Davidson for outlining some of the work that is already going on, in relation to the age-friendly city plan. Thank you, most of all, to our dedicated health workers, and the families and carers who support people with dementia in our community.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (4.22): I would like to thank Ms Lawder for bringing this really important motion to the Assembly and highlighting the work that we need to do to ensure that Canberra becomes a more dementia-friendly city. I speak in support of the motion and Minister Davidson’s amendment to the motion.

This is a really important issue for our community—locally, nationally and internationally. Unless you have been directly impacted by supporting a loved one who is suffering from dementia, you are unlikely to understand the devastating individual impact of this fatal disease. This is not just an individual or family issue; it is a huge issue for our whole community.


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