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Help for government planning

22 Nov 2016

The Territory’s leading seniors’ advocacy body, COTA NT has welcomed the recent release of a national Survey of Ageing, Disability and Carers as a critical tool to help governments plan for the challenges and opportunities of Australia’s changing and ageing population mix.

The figures highlight the significant contribution that older Australians make to the economy and society. It also demonstrates that senior people are taking greater responsibility for their health and welfare. This latest ABS data shows that Australian seniors are more active, more productive and living healthier than ever before.

In just a few short years, the prevalence of disability among seniors has significantly decreased as well as the proportion of older people who need assistance with daily tasks. At the same time, increasing numbers of seniors are participating in exercise and recreation as well as taking on volunteering in both formal and informal caring roles. This paints the picture of an increasingly active and inclusive older Australia – one in which seniors continue to make a valuable contribution as they age.

Preventive health measures, promotion of active ageing and reduction of age discrimination in the workplace, for which COTA NT continually advocates must be addressed. Effective measures must now be put in place by governments of all levels which increase health and happiness as well as reduce the potential longer term economic impacts of the ageing population.

The ABS report also highlights the contribution of carers, who were recognised recently during Carers Week.  The average age of primary carers is 55. There are 90,000 carers over 75 years of age, who are critical to enabling older people with disability, often their spouse, to remain at home rather than go into expensive residential care. This group of Australians save the nation over a billion dollars a week. These contributions are immense and of critical importance to our economy and communities.

The Minister for Territory Families (with responsibility for seniors) has confirmed that a Ministerial Seniors Advisory Council will be shortly re-established. Important policy issues such as the on-going well-being of Territory seniors will be listed as key agenda items by COTA NT.

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