Seniors Policy

“Together, we have a strong package for seniors across health, transport, housing and cost of living,to create better lives for senior Canberrans.”

Steve Doszpot, Shadow Minister for Ageing.

 

The problem

The Productivity Commission research paper titled An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future released on 22 November 2013 noted that:

  • Australia’s population is projected to rise to around 38 million by 2060, or around 15 million more than the population in 2012.
  • the population aged 75 or more years is expected to rise by 4 million from 2012 to 2060, increasing from about 6.4 to 14.4 per cent of the population.[1][i]

The Canberra Liberals recognise that older Australians want better amenities, services and access to affordable health, housing, energy and transport as well as having active and healthy lives.

These services should have the flexibility and support in delivering dignified care to older Australians, no matter where or how they live.

The principles for supporting our senior citizens includes:

  • ensuring older Australians have the care they need, when they need it and wherever they need it
  • further expansion and more flexible arrangements for living in the community
  • a simplified information system to assist people to access services
  • independent accreditation, complaints and quality care assessment processes, and
  • tough and workable standards for the sector so there is confidence in the consistency of care that is provided.[2][ii]

The Canberra Liberals’ solution

For too many years, the ACT has experienced the longest hospital emergency wait times, the least number of emergency patients seen on time and the longest waiting times for elective surgery, with double the proportion waiting over a year compared to those living interstate.

Our recently released health policy addresses these issues by building stage 1 of a Canberra Hospital extension that will assist Canberrans, including our seniors, by providing a modern 21st century emergency department, new operating theatres, a new short stay unit for intensive investigation and referrals and 52 extra nurses.

In addition we have announced we will build two new small hospitals in Gungahlin and Tuggeranong, to further reduce waiting times and improve services.

These expanded services and the location of hospitals in Gungahlin and Tuggeranong will particularly assist those Canberrans who wish to stay close to family during their health care.

The Canberra Liberals believe that the ACT Government has an important role in supporting seniors by providing and encouraging housing choices for ageing Canberrans who want to stay in familiar neighborhoods. Canberra’s aged care options in the outer suburbs is very limited and more land can be made available.

We will address housing affordability by making sure that social housing targets those in greatest need. Greatest need is often among our seniors. Part of this also involves an overhaul of the LDA to provide more land and more affordable options for all Canberrans.

The Canberra Liberals’ vision for cross-city bus services will offer much better access and timeliness, as opposed to Andrew Barr’s fixed tram line on Northbourne Avenue which will only service a fraction of the population.

We recognise that people want to direct access buses connecting where they live with their destinations. They want faster services including non-stop services to reduce peak hour travel times; later night services on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and new Parkway Express service linking Woden, Belconnen and our major hospitals. We will deliver these.

The Canberra Liberals will make parking fairer across the ACT by removing the late night and weekend extensions to paid parking that Andrew Barr announced in 2015. We will also improve parking in industrial precincts like Phillip and at the Canberra Hospital and University of Canberra.

This will mean Canberrans can attend events, or dine in the city without incurring additional costs for car parking.

There are also plans to upgrade bus stops with all weather shielding and real time information displays, trial electric buses and to enable MyWay cards for other purchases.

And we will make sure we continue to live in a vibrant community by supporting our local arts sport and cultural organisations.

We recognise the valuable role that groups such as the University of the Third Age (U3A) play in the lives of our seniors and would want to assist them in their quest to find appropriate long term accommodation for them to be able to run and expand their programs.

Regarding the recently debated Retirement Villages Amendment Bill, the Canberra Liberals worked closely with the seniors community to highlight deficiencies and unintended consequences in the legislation and to force the government to consult more closely before introducing any future changes that might place unfair burdens on retirement village residents.  In government we would seek to ensure that the recommendations from the Review of the Retirement Villages Act are discussed more widely with the ACT seniors’ community before being introduced.

 

“Together, we have a strong package for seniors across health, transport, housing and cost of living,to create better lives for senior Canberrans.”

Steve Doszpot

Shadow Minister for Ageing

 

[i] http://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/ageing-australia