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2020 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET PLATFORM
March 2, 2020
OUR 2020 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET PLATFORM
The Andrews Labor Government commitment to a fairer Victoria needs to ensure that older Victorians, especially those experiencing hardship and disadvantage, are not forgotten. Instead, older Victorians need to be at the forefront of government thinking and investment.
We know from our 450-strong residents that they want to live in and be supported by an age-friendly society. They want to access transport, services and information that does not require them to be digital adroit, and they want to be able to volunteer, work and take part in social and cultural activities.
We know from our waitlist of 1,100 older Victorians that lack of accessible, safe housing, financial difficulties, poor health, and limited working options are challenging. They want to be supported by policies which enable them to remain healthy, connected and independent for as long as possible. This includes changing attitudes to ageing and proper planning for an ageing population.
Our election platform has drawn on the views of our residents, our Conversations for Change series, and our volunteers and staff who daily witness the impact the lack of effective policies at local, state and federal governments on our residents.
Our priorities are:
- Develop, implement and fund a Victorian older person’s strategy
- Address the acute shortage of affordable housing for older people in Victoria
- Address transport issues as they affect older people
- Address the digital divide
- Fund and support the development of dementia friendly communities.
- Address and fund work and skills opportunities for older Victorians.
OLDER VICTORIANS STRATEGY
OCAV calls on the Victorian government to put in place further strategies, supports and services that allow Victorians to continue to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
There is no older Victorian strategy in place for immediate needs let alone to meet the changing demands of an ageing population. This is a glaring gap given that in Victoria now there are 1.25 million people aged over 60 years accounting for more than 20 per cent of the population. The percentage of older Victorians is set to increase to 22.2% in Greater Melbourne and 30.5% in regional and rural Victoria by 2031.
The strategy should determine current gaps and priorities for future funding for employment, healthy ageing, supporting diversity, addressing prevention and response to elder abuse, carer recognition and support, access to services and affordable, safe and fair housing.
More Victorians are growing older than ever before. As of 30 June, this year, 30.6% of Victorians enrolled to vote were aged 60 and over – that is more than 1.2 million voters. Overall, more than 20% of the Victorian population is aged over 60 and that number is increasing rapidly. By 2031, Victorians aged over 60 living in Greater Melbourne will comprise 22% of the population, and almost a third (31%) of Victorians living in rural and regional areas will be aged over 60.
Despite this, ageism prevails in many facets of our lives. Alarmingly 35% of Australians aged 55-64 years and 43% of Australians aged over 65 years’ report having experienced age discrimination.
OCAV stresses the importance of social participation within the strategy if Victoria is to fulfil its vision of remaining a liveable city, and developing 20 minute walkable communities. This also includes improving conditions to enable older Victorians to remain in the workforce, be retrained and skilled and contribute as volunteers.
OCAV calls on the Victorian Government to:
- Review current capital works programs that target older people to ensure equitable investment in infrastructure, including a massive injection of funding for affordable housing that is designed with the older person in mind
- Provide on-going investment in local communities to foster inclusion of older people and undertake evaluation to develop a knowledge base of what works
- Revise free TAFE eligibility to ensure that mature aged job seekers and workers who are experiencing employment vulnerability are provided with an opportunity to retrain and access new career pathways.
- Close the gap to provide better support, community based transport, particularly in regional and rural areas. This type of transport is used by people those who are unable to access public or private transport. This is generally because they are unable to access adequate transport support through Commonwealth funded aged and disability service systems.
- Improve pedestrian facilities in suburbs and regional and rural communities to enable older Victorians to remain active, prevent injuries and deaths
- Invest in a telephone service during ordinary business hours to complement the Seniors Online Victoria website and provide over the phone support and information to older Victorians.
- Invest in dementia friendly communities which includes providing dementia education for hospital and aged care staff, supporting Dementia Australia’s Nightingale Program, a nurse-led, dementia specific palliative care program, and to put in place programs which reduce discrimination faced by people living with dementia in the community.
Read the full submission here:
“I remember when I walked into the carpet bowls and the people greeted me and made me feel I had been here all my life,” said Bernard Pidd who, with his wife Jean, moved into Rushall Park after losing their home in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.