Canberra launched its new Age-Friendly City Plan earlier this week, to further encourage a city inclusive of its older population.
The initiative was a collaboration of the ACT Government, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing (MACA) and the Council on the Ageing (COTA).
CEO of COTA ACT, Jenny Mobbs, said she was pleased to see the launch of the plan, which had been in progress for two years.
“We took a questionnaire last year that reached hundreds of Canberra citizens and I think the ACT Government has done a brilliant job on taking all of that on board and producing this,” she said.
“Canberra proposes to be an age-friendly town for young people and university students, but I think we need to continue to expand that to reach older people as well.”
The four-year plan includes a range of initiatives such as the continued roll-out of age-friendly suburbs, introduction of criminal legislation on elder abuse, and support for the mental health and wellbeing of older Canberrans.
Ms Mobbs said the plan was important in ensuring we were valuing our elderly community and investing in our future.
“This is so important because we are all going to be living well into our 90s and it ensures we have a great quality of life and a good social life post-COVID times,” she said.
“We need to value the elderly in our city because they have done the hard yards for us.
“A lot of them have been public servants, have a good knowledge of how our government works and have contributed a lot to this city.”
ACT Minister for Seniors and Veterans, Gordon Ramsay, said the pandemic had been exceptionally difficult on the older community and hoped this plan would set a foundation for life after COVID-19.
“We recognise that this is a challenging time for all in our community, but it is a particularly difficult time for our older Canberrans,” he said.
“With that in mind, it is of the upmost importance that we lay the foundations and principles which will guide decision making to ensure better outcomes for our elderly.”
Ms Mobbs said she was excited to see even more progress in the older community sphere.
“We need to continue to improve things like transport and footpaths, so it is easy for the elderly to get around,” she said.
“We need to continue to make sure things like shops are easily accessible and that our elderly are safe.”