Page 1217 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2009

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Planning for positive ageing

Ministerial statement and paper

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (3.13), by leave: I present the following paper:

Planning for positive ageing—Ministerial statement, 24 March 2009.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

I thank colleagues on this side of the chamber, including Mrs Dunne who is now on this side of the chamber. I thank all of her friends too. As you can see, her friends are in abundance on the other side of the chamber! How sad is it to have only those few friends!

Following this year’s Seniors Week celebrations, today I bring to the Assembly’s attention the government’s response to the ACT’s ageing population. Older Canberrans are vital to our community as family members, carers, friends, neighbours, volunteer workers and consumers.

The ACT government is committed to responding to the needs of an ageing population, as reflected in the Canberra plan—towards our second century 2008. We recognise the many positive attributes of an older population, for example: increased employment opportunities, a more flexible workforce and the wide pool of volunteers available to participate in all areas of the community.

Ageing is relevant to everyone in our community and across all areas of government. Many ageing issues are interrelated and can affect the health and wellbeing of individuals. Expectations about lifestyles and services are changing as the first wave of baby boomers move into the 60-plus age group and start to retire from paid work, not unlike the Liberal Party opposite who appear to me to have retired from paid work.

To assist the government in planning for the challenges and opportunities that an ageing population brings, we are developing a strategic plan for positive ageing. This will be a whole-of-government plan which will be developed in partnership with the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, older Canberrans and other key stakeholders.

Positive ageing is about maximising the quality of older people’s lives and assisting them to maintain their social networks and continue to participate in the community, also known as active ageing. The World Health Organisation defines it as “the process of optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age”. The European Union has stated that “active ageing is about adjusting our life practices to the fact that we live longer and are more resourceful and in better health than ever before.” It is all about seizing the opportunities offered by these improvements.

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