Page 2997 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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Museum and National Gallery and the myriad recreational and social clubs found in Canberra.

We recognise the important role that seniors clubs play in the lives of many older Canberrans. In recognition of the role of seniors clubs, in its 2009-10 budget the government has delivered on its promise to fund a dedicated premises at Tuggeranong—I am sure to your absolute delight, Madam Assistant Speaker.


MR HARGREAVES: Statistics show that many people choose to continue to contribute through volunteering. Indeed, the ACT has the highest rate of volunteering in Australia, at 38 per cent. A clear message from the consultations was the need for more information on retirement activities generally and on volunteering opportunities in particular. One of the suggestions made was for an ACT volunteer register incorporating a skills bank to maximise people’s chances of finding appropriate volunteer work that uses their existing skills and suits their interests.

I have touched on the importance of learning from older people, but we must also remember that we all continue to learn throughout our lives and that this is an important way to keep our minds active and to remain connected with the modern world. There are many excellent educational opportunities available to older people in this city, for example through the Canberra Institute of Technology’s adult and community education program, the University of the Third Age, seniors club programs and our universities.

That high level of activity is not just about government initiatives; much of it is initiated by individuals and community groups. We know that participation in the life of the community and social connectedness are important at all stages of life and have positive impacts on health and happiness.

As individuals and as a community, we need to fully embrace and value the inclusion of older people in community activity. We will be the richer for it. However, the government can have a role in helping people to find out about community activities and to make choices.

The next step will be the release of a draft ACT strategic plan for further public consultation in August and September this year. We look forward to hearing whether the government has hit the mark with its priorities and we will welcome feedback on how the draft plan can be improved. My aim is to produce a final document that addresses the concerns put to us by older Canberrans that is practically grounded and that will deliver real outcomes for the community. We are listening and we will act.

I plan to table the final strategic plan for positive ageing in December this year. I believe that this plan will mark a milestone in this government’s commitment not only to the welfare of our older citizens but to the promotion of positive ageing for the whole community.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, under the leadership of Alan Hodges and Marian Reilly, for the

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