By Keryn Curtis
The inaugural chief executive of Leading Age Services Australia, Gerard Mansour, has taken on another inaugural leadership role – this time on the other side of the advocacy fence.
Victoria’s Minister for Ageing, David Davis, today announced the appointment of Mr Mansour as the state’s first ever Commissioner for Senior Victorians.
The new position has been established by the Victorian Government in response to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Opportunities for Participation for Victorian Seniors.
Tabling the response to that inquiry in February this year, Minister Davis promised to establish a new Commissioner who would chair a Ministerial Advisory Committee for Senior Victorians to enable the Victorian government to better understand participation of older people and co-ordinate an action plan across the whole of the state government.
Making the announcement today, Minister Davis described Mr Mansour as a ‘standout selection’ for the role.
“The important role of the Commissioner for Senior Victorians is to promote an age-friendly society and enhance community participation by senior Victorians,” Mr Davis said.
“Gerard Mansour is a highly respected and passionate advocate for the needs of older people, and is a standout selection for Victoria’s first ever Commissioner for Senior Victorians.”
The other key commitment of the Victorian Government’s response to the Parliamentary Inquiry – the establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Committee for Senior Victorians – was also announced today. The 12 person committee, chaired by the Commissioner, comprises a range of stakeholders including seniors advocacy groups, academics and local government.
“The Committee will prepare a whole-of-government action plan, detailing new strategies and actions to promote community participation of older people and coordinate plans across Government,” Mr Davis said.
The standout choice
Mr Mansour, who was CEO of Aged and Community Care Victoria for six years before becoming the inaugural CEO of the new national aged and community care industry peak body, Leading Age Services Australia, said he was extremely proud to be appointed to a role where he can to stand up for senior Victorians and promote age friendly communities.
“We have heard clearly from seniors the message about remaining engaged in the community and the workforce in various ways. Someone retiring in their mid-60s now has 20 years of retirement ahead and that leaves a lot of potential for continuing workforce and economic participation which can be important in active and healthy ageing.”
Mr Mansour said the Ministerial Advisory Committee would be convening for its first meeting tomorrow and would deliver its action plan by the end of 2014.
“Our specific task initially is to identify the enormous range of programs and initiatives that currently exist to support or promote participation of senior Victorians and bring it all together into one detailed action plan and strategy,” said Mr Mansour.
“In doing this, it will enable us to look in some detail at the areas of need, gaps and emerging issues too.”
Mr Mansour said it was too early to say exactly what kinds of initiatives and outcomes would eventually come from the committee’s work.
“Probably it will go down the line of setting some clear goals with actions and outcomes but at this stage, the committee’s role is to make sense of what’s currently underway across departments to address participation of older people and then co-ordinate the plan across government.”
“We have to get our discussions and thoughts to a level of detail first to develop a framework. We will work closely with government because it has to make sense as a whole of government document,” he added.
Mr Mansour said he would like to hear ideas from senior Victorians on how the Victorian Government can help people to stay active and fully participate in society.
He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit Seniors Online at: www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au
This article was originally published at Australian Ageing Agenda.
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