Parliamentary Inquiry – the Government Response

On 20 February 2013 the State Government tabled its response to the Inquiry into Opportunities for Participation of Victorian Seniors.

COTA Vic congratulates the Government on its commitment to act on issues raised through the Inquiry and to work towards a better Victoria for seniors. The government has addressed many of the short term issues but has not identified resources for addressing the long term needs.

We expect this to be addressed in the forthcoming May Budget.

KEY DECISIONS

A Commissioner for Senior Victorians: The Government accepted many of the recommendations, the main one being the appointment of a Commissioner for Senior Victorians who will chair a select Ministerial Advisory Committee and who will report to the Minister for Ageing, the lead Minister for older people. However the Government says it will be a part time position.

The Ministerial Advisory Committee will be empowered to develop a whole of government older persons’ action plan, detailing strategies and actions underway across departments to address participation of older people and coordinate the plan across government.

COTA VIC welcomes the appointment of a Commissioner to boost community participation of senior Victorians and develop an age-friendly society. The Government intends the Commissioner to report to the Minister of Ageing and be supported by the Department of Health. The Commissioner’s achievements would be included in the Department’s annual report.

COTA  believes the Commissioner should be full-time, independent,adequately resourced and report directly to Parliament, as is usual with Commissioners.

Information Services: On Information services, COTA welcomes the recognition of the work of Seniors Information Victoria through its commitment to funding this important service to older people.

Employment: The Government will identify structural barriers to older employment such as recruitment, Victorian worker’ compensation, transition to retirement opportunities, and we applaud this.

Age Friendly Communities: The Government says it will work with local government to integrate age-friendly approaches as an important part of developing an older persons’ action plan. With support from the new Ministerial Advisory Committee, we encourage the Government to work in partnership with COTA who has been leading on this work, and other agencies interested in supporting an age-friendly Victoria including the Municipal Association of Victoria.

Housing: The Governments new social housing framework scheduled for release this year is welcomed and critical to enable older people to live well instead of at risk of homelessness COTA believes this should be a priority as it affects the most disadvantaged of older Victorians.

Public awareness on age discrimination: COTA believes it is important that the new Advisory Committee tackle the issue of ageism in our society. Public perceptions about ageing and older people need to be challenged and changed if Victorian seniors are to fully participate in our community.

For more details read the Government’s Response to the Inquiry.

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