Page 899 - Week 03 - Thursday, 19 March 2015

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I welcome the initiative of free travel during Seniors Week for seniors card holders. I acknowledge the value of flexible bus services. Public transport is of great importance to senior Canberrans, as many choose to give up their cars and rely on public transport to get to meetings, appointments and other events. Such things as better signage at bus stops and on buses, better design and more comfortable bus shelters do not just benefit older Canberrans; they make Canberra an easier and more pleasant city to live in and to get around.

On the issue of footpaths, I am only too aware of how many of them are unsafe. It is probably the most consistent complaint I get when I travel around my electorate and talk to constituents. It is especially difficult for Canberrans in older suburbs with trees so often uprooting old paths and making them even more dangerous than having no path at all.

I thank Minister Gentleman for including me in Friday’s roundtable. It was a rather late invitation but I do appreciate it and I will fit it into the busy schedule that I have tomorrow. It is unfortunate also that it clashes with a similar event being hosted by Senator Seselja. I know there are many people who would have wanted to attend Minister Gentleman’s event as well, had it been held at another time. Similarly, as it is a sitting week, I was unable to attend the Seniors Expo at Thoroughbred Park on Tuesday. I am sure from what I have heard that it was another successful event.

The older persons assembly last year was a great success and it is pleasing to hear that some of the recommendations are being seriously considered by the government, but I also note that there was some concern among the ageing community that the health issues of our older community were not taken into account in last year’s older persons assembly. I understand that Mr Gentleman has also received some correspondence on this issue, and I hope that it will be an agenda item at the next older persons assembly.

It is important that this Assembly continues to take note of its older Canberrans. They have contributed to Canberra and they continue to make a significant contribution to the ACT in so many ways.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Ministerial statement

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Women and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Social Inclusion and Equality) (10.19), by leave: I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue the discussion around both the importance and the effectiveness of our public and community housing and other homelessness services here in the ACT. In response to a motion on 18 February this year the Assembly agreed that as Minister for Housing I should provide a further update on key housing issues and the provision of services to those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. There is a danger in this debate of jumping to conclusions or making sensational claims based on one or two statistics and it does a great disservice to those whose lives we are talking about.

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