Page 1215 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

Canberrans. The government is developing and implementing policies and programs that will build a strong, safe and cohesive community, consistent with the goals identified for Canberra seniors in the Canberra social plan.

The 2006 census indicated that approximately 27 per cent of the ACT population is aged 50 years and older, one group that you and I fall into, Mr Speaker, with 14 per cent aged 60 and over. By 2031, the 60-and-over group is expected to represent 27 per cent of the population.

The demographic shift raises social and economic opportunities and challenges across our community. In this context it is imperative that we continue to develop policy which supports active and positive ageing, where people can continue to contribute to their community in meaningful ways, for example, through leisure activities, part-time employment or volunteering.

We believe that the government should be actively fostering the creation of a community where older people are respected for their wealth of knowledge and experience and are encouraged to share this wealth with the rest of the community. To assist people to maintain their active community participation, we also need to ensure that, where assistance is required, it is available and easily accessible, whether this support is through informal community support networks or a formal service.

The government needs to continually improve its understanding of ageing issues. We need to appreciate the changing expectations of people over 50 and to better understand resilience, social roles and social supports for older people. We have traditionally associated old age with negative dependency stereotypes. This is no longer a valid outlook, if it ever was.

With the increase in life expectancy comes increased years of healthy and active living. Retirees can experience a golden opportunity to live life to the full now that family and work responsibilities have abated. However, I do not deny that many older people enter retirement experiencing significant financial stress, especially single women who are completely reliant on the age pension and who do not own their own home.

Indeed, with people living longer, and with significantly increasing mortgages, rents and medical expenses, most people will need to consider working longer and saving harder if they are to experience the quality of life in retirement that they aspire to. Maintaining people’s quality of life is a key issue. This includes ensuring that people have real choices regarding employment, retirement, lifestyle and general community participation.

The principles underpinning “a society for all ages” are to support older people in the ACT by promoting health and wellbeing, providing safety and security in the home and in the community, assisting older people to effectively plan for their retirement, promoting positive images of older people and ageing, promoting opportunities for lifelong learning, providing land for residential developments for seniors and regulating developments to ensure that a proportion of housing meets the needs of older people through the requirement for accessible and adaptable housing.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .