Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
The Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) Strategic Plan for Positive Ageing 2010-2014 has provided a blueprint for a coordinated approach across the ACT Government and the community to support positive ageing and an Age-friendly city “where older people are respected, valued and supported to actively participate in their community”. It was developed in 2009, following extensive community consultation, by the ACT Office for Ageing, a unit within the Community Services Directorate of the ACT Government, in partnership with the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, and guided by an Interdepartmental Committee. The Plan is now monitored by the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, and guided by the Canberra Age-Friendly City Network. We have seven strategic priorities, which closely align with the WHO Age-friendly City themes e.g. Information and Communication. The goal of this particular priority is: “People in the ACT easily access information about healthy living, retirement planning, support services and products, entitlements, and community groups and clubs”. Each priority also has a number of specific actions agreed by one of more ACT Government agency e.g. Develop and promote an online ‘Seniors Information Portal’. The initial Action Plan has since been replaced with a 2010-2014 Action Plan. Among the many completed actions were the creation of ACT ‘Seniors Information Online; the annual Canberra Gold Award exhibitions at the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery; the on-going reform of ACT secondary dwelling/‘granny flat’ regulations; additional bus shelters and seats; and the publishing of the ACT Business Guides to Older Customers and to Mature Workers.
In 2011 we held Australia’s first Older Persons Assembly in our Legislative Assembly’s debating chamber. In October 2013 the City of Canberra hosted the First Australian Age-friendly Cities and Communities Conference, and currently hosts the Facebook Group of the Australian Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities. Canberra is now exploring the possibility of focussing on a small number of suburbs to serve as examples of the effectiveness of specific improvements in infrastructure and community services.
On 1 October 2014, the 2nd ACT Older Persons Assembly was held in the ACT Legislative Assembly Chamber. Over the course of the day, 56 delegates, representing a cross-section of the city’s seniors community, debated and passed resolutions on 1) infrastructure, 2) Transport and 3) Connecting in an Age-friendly City. The draft resolutions had been developed from the feedback received during an extensive community consultation in the preceding months. These resolutions will help shape future planning requirements and needs of older Canberrans in the next decade as the ACT continues to grow as an Age-friendly city, where older people are respected, valued and supported to actively participate.