Page 3571 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing

Paper and statement by minister

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs, and Acting Minister for Education and Training): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

ACT Ministerial Advisory Council On Ageing—Annual Report 2004-2005.

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: Today I table the 2004-05 annual report of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing. The ministerial advisory council on ageing, established as part of this government’s commitment to senior Canberrans, is the first of its kind since the introduction of self-government in the ACT. It gives Canberrans an opportunity to play a real and significant role in advising government on the future needs of older people. Ours is an ageing community. Too often this reality is seen in negative terms because of the strain it will place on our health system, the changes it will demand of our housing and the potential decline in government revenue as the working age population shrinks.

An ageing population does present challenges. So did the baby boom, and so does any demographic shift over time. Societies have always accommodated these shifts. We have built more schools when the population bulge has been at the other end of the lifecycle; we have built four-bedroom houses instead of three-bedroom ones; we have constructed new office blocks when they have been needed. Now, and in the future, we will need something different again. We will not only accommodate that difference, we will celebrate it. We will find ways of adding value to the life experiences of older people.

Since its inception, the ministerial advisory council on ageing has been actively involved in promoting positive ageing and providing important advice to the government on the needs of older Canberrans. It has drawn on the skills, expertise and creativity of people of exceptional calibre from a diverse range of community sectors. The council has gone from strength to strength since its inauguration. The success of this council sets a high standard for other advisory bodies to aspire to. The 2004-05 annual report is proof of this.

The annual report details achievements against the council’s strategic plan, released in December 2003, and highlights directions for the coming year. Considerable progress has been made against a number of priorities, including promoting meaning and purpose in later life through such forums as the successful social isolation seminar and the meaningful ageing forum; encouraging portrayal of positive images of senior people, through participation in such initiatives as the “life’s reflections” photographic competition, and through working with media outlets to promote the portrayal of positive images of older people.

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