Page 1582 - Week 04 - Thursday, 7 April 2011

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It is my pleasure to table the report of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing on revisiting the 2005 review report of seniors clubs. I congratulate the council on the extensive consultation and research undertaken in preparing this report. This report was undertaken in the context of the ACT strategic plan for positive ageing 2010-14 and its purpose was to map the progress against the findings of a similar review of seniors clubs undertaken by MACA in 2005.

The ACT government responded to the 2005 review by undertaking three significant initiatives. These included the provision of land for a seniors club in Tuggeranong, funding to construct a Tuggeranong seniors centre and six regional community buses for operation by ACT regional community service organisations.

Commitment to the construction of a permanent home for the Tuggeranong 55 Plus Club was a clear acknowledgement of the important role that clubs play in contributing to the social wellbeing of older Canberrans. Being in my local electorate of Brindabella, I can see firsthand the benefit that will bring to that area.

A budget of $1.7 million was allocated for the design and construction of a new club and in February 2011 work commenced at a site in Greenway. The project is expected to take about eight to nine months to complete. I know that seniors in the Tuggeranong area are looking forward to seeing their new club complete and ready to move into.

For an initial period of time, Communities@Work will work alongside the Tuggeranong 55 Plus Club to manage the new facility. On that point I would just like to recognise Mr Hargreaves for his interest in making sure that the Tuggeranong 55 Plus Club most certainly found its home in Tuggeranong.

Madam Assistant Speaker, the regional community buses have been in operation at each of the six regional community services since 2008. These provide a valuable low cost service for ACT residents who may otherwise be socially isolated due to lack of transport. This includes seniors with mobility issues and those living in nursing homes and retirement villages. The ACT government is currently undertaking a review of this service to ensure that it is appropriately targeted to meet current community need.

The council has made four recommendations for consideration by the government and two recommendations for consideration by the seniors clubs. The recommendations look to ways in which seniors clubs can best work together with the ACT government and broader community to enhance their programs. The first of these recommendations calls on the government to support clubs in developing new facilities or upgrading existing club facilities. The ACT government acknowledges that, with the growing population of older people, existing club infrastructure presents a barrier to expanding the facilities, membership and the scope of activities offered.

The ACT government is committed to support existing seniors clubs to develop their centres. It continues to consider proposals and explore options to assist with the development of facilities through ongoing discussions with the Department of Land and Property Services and the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services.

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