Page 1219 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 9 April 2008

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Getting back to Seniors Week, I encourage all members to have a look at the program of events available through the COTA ACT website and, of course, in this promo here, and try something new, whether it is pitch and putt at the Canberra International Golf Centre or just checking out the Life’s Reflections photographic exhibition at the Canberra Centre.

I would also like to thank COTA ACT for its great work in putting the week’s events together.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.00): I thank Mr Gentleman for bringing forward this extremely important matter of public importance; namely, the importance of developing comprehensive policies for older Canberrans. It falls especially to members of the Legislative Assembly, as leaders in the community, to take a lead in ensuring that our older Canberrans have the right range of services to meet their needs and to ensure that what in these days is a lengthening period of retirement from the full-time workforce is an enjoyable and productive one for the members of our community.

As we ourselves grow older, those of us who are still blessed with the presence of our parents are quite alert to some of the issues confronting older Australians and older Canberrans. I am blessed with both my parents still being alive and extraordinarily well, well into their 80s. My mother is 88 and my father is 86. My father plays golf. He plays off a handicap of 19—sorry, it has just been increased; he now plays off 22, which is a substantial achievement for someone of such an age. My mother has given up golf after a wrist injury, but she has discovered bowls. As an extraordinarily competitive sportswoman all her life, she has discovered something else that she is good at.

Recently at home we spent some time reflecting on how wonderful it is when you see people who, as they get old, are in the right place and able to make the right choices for their future. I am blessed, and the rest of my family is blessed, because my parents have been able to do that. They do not live in Canberra but they are doing very well. And I reflect upon other people, other members of my family and my extended family, who are not in that same situation. It shows how important the right decisions and having the right choices before you are to one’s wellbeing as one advances in years.

Seniors Week is an important time to reflect upon this. Although Mr Gentleman has encouraged us to get out during Seniors Week, it is difficult for members of the Assembly to get out during sitting days. But, perhaps at the weekend, we should take some of the opportunities that are afforded to get out to some of the seniors events.

As I said at the outset, there is an important role for those of us in government and in the legislature to make sure that we have all the right settings in place or that we do what we can to ensure that there are the right settings in place. Therefore there is an important role for the opposition. I would like to run a reprise of some of the comments that the Leader of the Opposition made recently and reflect upon those in the context of making and developing comprehensive policies for older Canberrans. The leader said:

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