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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 993 ..


dementia, this is an issue for all of us. We all have family and friends with mobility issues, and many of us have had either short-term or long-term mobility challenges.

Given this, I will be advocating that we move towards introducing this mandatory standard. This will mean that we will see all new homes that are being built with simple but important features, such as doors wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and no entry steps, a bathroom on the ground floor, and structural reinforcements to allow the installation of features such as grip rails, if they are needed in the future.

These simple changes will add about one per cent to the initial cost of a home but they will save thousands of dollars in expensive retrofittings for homes in the future. Above all, it will mean that people are not forced out of their homes because they cannot be adapted to their needs.

We need to respond to the issues of accessibility, affordability and sustainability of our new housing stock in the ACT to support an age-friendly and dementia-friendly city. We need to support the industry around any changes and look at things such as implementation frameworks. We also need to signal now that we are committed to building homes that meet our needs as we age, and for those in the community with disability and diseases such as dementia.

We must do everything we can to ensure that homes that are being built now and will continue to be homes for decades to come, are responding to community needs and are futureproofed. I am really proud that our government will be taking a leading position on this issue nationally.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.28): I am delighted that Ms Lawder’s very good motion is receiving such strong support across the Assembly; that is great. There is no question that this is an issue of real consequence affecting our community. The statistics that have been litigated by Ms Lawder and others are really quite frightening.

I stand today to add my perspective to this, because I am personally affected by a family member with dementia, and that is my dad. My dad was an air force pilot. He was a teacher. He was a very successful farmer. Beyond that, obviously, he was a husband, a dad and a mate. He got reasonably early onset dementia. The effects were undiagnosed for a while; then it became evident what the diagnosis was.

As a consequence, it was a really difficult time for the family, and particularly my mother, with respect to living with someone with dementia. Often, with the person with dementia, it is very sad, as they are affected terribly; but it is equally sad for their partner and children, as they have to manage what can be a difficult circumstance.

We would see that my father would want to go out, and would obviously want to participate in life, but as his cognitive ability declined, his ability to do so was more difficult. My mum would take him out where they lived and sometimes his behaviour would be difficult; there is no doubt about it. He was always very gentle. He always has been a very gentle man, a very kind man. He has never been violent, raised his voice or anything like that.


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