By Rob O'Brien
Initiatives including more local government support to help older Australians living in rural and remote communities will form part of a 10-year plan to address the state’s ageing population, the State Government has announced.
Releasing the Brumby Government’s plan Ageing in Victoria: A plan for an age-friendly society 2010-2020, Minister for Senior Victorians Lisa Neville said Australians had one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world.
“That is why we have worked with the community to develop a plan to ensure all Victorians are able to maintain a high quality of life as we age,” Ms Neville said.
“Our aim is to protect the rights of older people to age with dignity and ensure our communities benefit from their experience, skills and wisdom.
“We know it is important for older Victorians stay healthy and active, which is why we are making it easier to participate in work, family and community life by providing housing, transport and other supports to meet their needs.”
Ms Neville said the Ageing in Victoria plan was the culmination of months of consultation with over 1,400 seniors including seniors groups, aged care providers, local councils, and community services organisations.
Some of the initiatives to support the plan include: Providing free weekend public transport in Melbourne and regional town centres for Seniors Card holders; and, an extra 2,000 hours of interpreter services to be funded through Home and Community Care;
The government will also invest $1 million in expanding Community Registers around the state to ensure local health providers can assist vulnerable seniors during heatwaves; and, develop a ‘Status of Seniors’ report every two years
“As part of our commitment to our ageing population, we need to make sure we build on the many existing services for older Victorians and assess how well we are meeting the three priority outcome areas set out in this plan: health and wellbeing; age-friendly communities; economic and social participation,” Ms Neville said.
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