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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 2967 ..

I wish to thank Minister Rattenbury and the Community Clubs Ministerial Advisory Council for their work to reduce gambling harm in this community. It is great to see the combined benefit of initiatives from this government to address climate change while reducing clubs’ reliance on pokies. I look forward to continuing to offer my support for the range of gambling reforms and initiatives as well as support for community clubs, moving forward.

As we move into Gambling Harm Awareness Week and as we move out of lockdown, I say to those people who are fighting that internal battle with themselves: call 1800 858 858 for a chat. Call that number and work out a plan for yourself. I say to men in the ACT, to men who gamble with mates: look after your mates.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Seniors—International Day of Older Persons

Ministerial statement

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee-Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (10.39): I rise to recognise the International Day of Older Persons. Since 1990, the United Nations has designated 1 October as the International Day of Older Persons. On this day across the globe we pay tribute to the enormous contributions older people make to our lives and our communities as we also continue to reckon with the aged-based discrimination and abuse that too many older people experience. In the spirit of this day, the ACT government underlines our commitment to addressing these issues.

Currently, there are about 50,000 Canberrans aged 65 years and over, and this number will continue to grow. Treasury projections point to significant increases through to 2058. By 2058, 122,000 Canberrans over 65 will make up 17.4 per cent of the ACT’s population. Nationally, more than a third of people aged over 65 were born overseas, with the majority born in non-English-speaking countries. Half of those aged 65 years and over have a disability. The figures for the ACT are similar. While there is very little data on the older Australian LGBTIQ community, census data points to the fact that five per cent of the 46,700 same-sex couples in Australia are aged 65 and over. More than half of the people over 65 are women. While the number of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is growing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 65 and over make up just five per cent of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. This is compared with 16 per cent of the non-Indigenous population being aged 65 and over.

For the second year running, the International Day of Older Persons takes place amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With the impacts of the lockdown continuing, we know that older people in our community have faced specific challenges. I want to recognise that residents of aged-care facilities have been particularly impacted by lockdowns. The progress we are making in relation to vaccination rates for the aged care workforce is particularly welcome. As at 29 September, 99.8 per cent of residential aged-care workers in the ACT had received their first dose, and 88.7 per cent were fully vaccinated.

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