Page 2988 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 6 August 2008

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they make to our city and our lives. Many of the activities and achievements that are recognised are as a result of voluntary work. The Stanhope government’s volunteer policy encourages older people to engage in volunteering and supports their training, which is made available through Volunteering ACT. This is both for volunteers themselves and their managers. The senior grant program provides funds for projects that create a better understanding of ageing and encourages older people to maintain and enhance their connections with the broader community.

More and more people are choosing to remain in the paid workforce, Mr Deputy Speaker, as they age. Through the Department of Education and Training, learning opportunities are provided for retraining and up-skilling. The ACT public service work and life balance policy provides a whole-of-government framework for the ACT government to use in assisting employees with that all-important balance. This balance is of course important at any age but if we are to remain in the paid workforce and prepare ourselves for eventual active retirement, we need to get the balance right.

Working grandparents, of course, may need extended grandparents leave. The Stanhope government has provided additional payments and extended grandparents leave for mature age workers in the ACT public service. Leave of up to 52 weeks without pay over a three-year period is now available. Around 100 ACT public service staff aged 70 or older are eligible for additional fortnightly payments to compensate for the loss of employer superannuation contributions.

These initiatives were developed in consultation with the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, which is evidence of the Stanhope government’s consultation process working to benefit older Canberrans. Carers ACT is funded through the home and community care program to provide a culturally and linguistically diverse carers program. It supports these communities in their caring responsibilities by offering a range of educational and information-based programs to address issues such as social isolation.

This supports older people from these backgrounds to remain connected to their communities and prevents their social isolation. The Australian government Department of Health and Ageing provides the ACT with funding to run the community partners program, which provides aged-care support services to ensure culturally appropriate care is delivered to older persons from these backgrounds. These initiatives are designed to prevent social isolation and to promote inclusion.

Improving infrastructure is also a way of fostering social inclusion. Because I am regularly out there in the community conducting my mobile offices I know it is often just as simple as improving someone’s immediate environment that can make a difference to their feeling of safety and improving their lifestyle. Since being elected I have had many kilometres of footpaths repaired and replaced in nine suburbs in my electorate.

Footpath repairs, clear pavement markings, visible signage, median strip refuge islands, warning signs, improved street lighting and shopping centre refurbishment all make it easier for people to get out and about. As we age remaining in the family

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