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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 2970 ..


serious, significant and complex problems. The ACT government has a clear role in addressing these issues. At the same time, a whole-of-community effort is required.

Research from the Australian Human Rights Commission has shed light on one of the many manifestations of ageism. That is, the negative stereotypes and connotations of ageing. The study cites the example that ageing is associated with concept loss, as in loss of health, loss of hearing, loss of mental capacity and loss of income. I therefore challenge us, as a community, to instead see ageing for its gains—the gains of life experience that we inevitably accrue across the life course and the gains that we make as a community when we genuinely socially include older people. It is through this prism that we can build a truly age-friendly and inclusive community.

I present the following paper:

Statement on International Day of Older Persons—Ministerial statement, 8 October 2021.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (10.49): I would like to thank Minister Davidson for providing her statement today. I had thought it was to be provided on Tuesday, but apparently there was not enough time. I apologise for not noticing that. As the minister has noted, older people have faced significant challenges because of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Seniors have been more vulnerable, more isolated and more at risk than many other groups in our community.

I agree with everything Minister Davidson has said in her statement. I, too, am pleased that older Canberrans have had such a high uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is clear that our seniors understand the risk of this virus and want to protect themselves and their loved ones as best they can. I also note that Minister Davidson has paid tribute to the incredible community organisations we have here in the ACT that help to support older Canberrans—Communities@Work, seniors and 55-plus centres, ADACAS, and of course COTA ACT, to name just a few. It is absolutely fair that the minister, and anyone else, including me, pay them tribute, given that these organisations have done a lot of the heavy lifting during the pandemic and brought many issues to the government’s attention.

But while we can all agree with these positive and constructive words, it is disappointing to see that this week’s budget did not back up these fine words. No new initiatives were announced for seniors in the ACT budget this week. Under this government, it is business as usual with seniors, despite acknowledging that they face additional pressures during the pandemic. It is the same seniors grants, the same funding for seniors cards and the same inclusion and participation metrics.

Yes, I agree, it is great to have the seniors grants and the funding for seniors cards. But of course every government in Australia provides funding for seniors cards. This is not anything special or out of the ordinary. These are important initiatives, but it is


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