ACT Active Ageing

Framework 2015 - 2018

ACT Active Ageing Framework 2015-2018 [PDF 3.5KB]
For a tri-fold copy of this brochure please contact the Community Participation Group on 6207 1667

2017 Progress Report on Actions of the ACT Active Ageing Framework [PDF 235KB] [Word 44KB]


The Framework expresses the ACT Government’s priorities for active ageing over the next 3 years. The Framework will have accompanying guiding principles with achievable and measurable actions to be completed by ACT directorates during the life of the document.


All senior Canberrans lead active, healthy and rewarding lives as valued members of our community.

Message from Minister for Ageing

Canberra has one of the fastest growing populations of people aged 65 years and over in Australia and this growth is set to continue.
There is little doubt that ageing has a profound impact on our community, be it on the labour market, social security, health care, long-term care or on the relationships between generations.

In this context, active ageing is not only about the challenges but also the opportunities, such as older people continuing to work, to stay healthy longer and to continue to contribute to society.

The ACT Active Ageing Framework 2015-2018 has been developed following extensive community consultations in 2014 and early 2015. It provides guidance to ACT Government directorates and requires them to incorporate active ageing principles into mainstream policies such as health, transport, employment, housing and social inclusion.
It is acknowledged that while interventions for active ageing are most efficient when taking place early in the life-course, they are also effective and meaningful in later life with the transition to retirement being recognised as an important gateway for active ageing.

The associated Action Plan sets out practical initiatives that will encourage Canberrans to remain active, healthy and independent as they age in our community.
I am confident that the implementation of the Framework and the initiatives outlined in the Action Plan over the next three years will yield many benefits for seniors in Canberra, now and into the future.

MLA Mick Gentleman

Mick Gentleman MLA
Minister for Ageing (2014-2016)

Guiding Principles

For the Australian Capital Territory
(based on outcomes from local community consultations and the ‘Checklist of Essential Features of Age-friendly Cities’ issued by the World Health Organisation)

  1. Civic Participation and Employment
    This principle captures actions related to social and economic participation, equity, social inclusion and respect and safety. The ACT Government is committed to providing a range of volunteering and employment options for seniors including promoting training and/or re-skilling options for mature aged workers.
  2. Communication and Information & Social Participation
    This principle supports access to training in the use of computer technology for senior Canberrans to reduce the incidence of social isolation. This principle will allow the ACT Government to explore options to encourage and assist senior ACT residents to use social media and review current communication mechanisms to establish ways in which the information can be more efficiently and effectively disseminated.
  3. Respect and Social Inclusion
    This principle will focus on actions that are equitable so that seniors in the ACT can live well, with dignity and purpose. The ACT Government is committed to human rights, social justice and the eradication of ageism and provides information, education and services to seniors, their family, carers and the wider community.
  4. Community and Health Services
    This principle focuses on accessible health services including mental health, health services available in the home, and that such services need to be adequate, respectful and affordable.
  5. Housing & Outdoor Spaces and Buildings Outdoor
    This principle has a focus on outdoor spaces and includes actions that directly support and increase seniors independence and mobility. It challenges Government to support active-ageing, accessibility and healthy lifestyle options. This includes work undertaken by Housing ACT and the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate to provide age appropriate affordable housing and other forms of social housing.
  6. Transportation
    This principle has a focus on city areas and services to be inclusive of accessible and Age-Friendly private transport services to increase consistency with current government initiatives.
    The Commonwealth Government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme provides financial assistance to participants so that they can choose other forms of private transport such as taxis. The ACT Government also administers a taxi subsidy scheme for those who cannot access public transport due to disability.


  • For the purposes of the Active Ageing Framework and associated Action Plan, Mature age workers, defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as anyone over the age of 45, should be given the same opportunities for recruitment, employment, training and professional development as their younger colleagues. Retaining the corporate knowledge and experience of mature-age workers makes good business sense. 2010 Age discrimination - exposing the hidden barrier for mature age workersExternal Link
  • For the purposes of the Framework ‘Healthy Seniors’ refers to physical, mental and social well being as expressed in the WHO definition of health. Maintaining autonomy and independence for older people is a key goal in the policy framework for active ageing. What is “active ageing”?External Link
  • For the purposes of the Active Ageing Framework and Associated Action Plan - Home and Community Care (HACC) is for people who need support services to assist them to live in their own home. For example, HACC can help with everyday tasks such as: housework, shopping, showering and getting dressed. The Commonwealth is responsible for the HACC Program - as of 1 July 2015, this program was consolidated into the Commonwealth Home Support Programme DSSs Commonwealth HACC ProgramExternal Link. The Department of Social Services aims to encourage older people to live active and independent lives. The Department works to deliver quality, affordable and accessible aged care and carer support services for older people, including through subsidies and grants, industry assistance, training and regulation of the aged care sector. DSS-Ageing and Aged CareExternal Link

Primary Objectives 2015-2018

  • Services and programs are inclusive, empowering and responsive and recognise the diversity of seniors and their right to safety, security and informed decision making.
  • Opportunities exist for seniors to be socially connected and active participants in community life through lifelong learning and social and economic engagement.
  • The needs of seniors are recognised by supporting good urban planning for user friendly environments that benefit all ages.
  • A range of volunteering and employment options are provided for seniors and retirees, including training and/or re-skilling options for mature aged workers.

Community Consultations

  • Extensive community and government consultations to inform the ACT Active Ageing Framework: 2015 - 2018 were conducted throughout 2014.
  • In June 2010 Canberra was invited to join the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.
  • The World Health Organisation has developed a checklist of the essential features of age-friendly cities that make a community more liveable and manageable for citizens, providing practical guidance about how the pillars of active ageing can be achieved. The checklist was developed through consultation with older people in 33 cities across 22 countries.
  • Importantly, this Framework applies the practical guidance developed by the World Health Organisation and, at the same time, responds to the unique needs of seniors living in the Australian Capital Territory as identified through extensive consultations undertaken between June 2014 and March 2015.
  • These local community consultations included: a series of feedback sessions in June and July 2014 which shaped the three resolutions debated at the 2nd Older Persons Assembly in October 2014; and feedback received at the ACT Ministerial Mature Age Workers Roundtable held in March 2015.
  • The national prevalence of age discrimination in the workplace survey revealed more than a quarter of people over 50 have experienced age bias over the past two years.
  • The Government also welcomes the recent announcement of the ‘Willing to Work: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and Australians with a Disability’, to be led by the Age and Disability Commissioner, Susan Ryan.



The ACT Strategic Plan for Positive Ageing 2010-14 guided the implementation of the following initiatives:

  • The ACT Digital Hub which opened at Gungahlin library in February 2013 offers one on one sessions by appointment tailored to individual needs, as well as three weekly group sessions. Topics that have assisted seniors include training on a range of computer and internet skills.
  • The ‘Find an ACT health service’ page which includes up-to-date information about aged care health services in Canberra and surrounding regions ACT Health - Find a health service, seek health advice or informationExternal Link
  • The centralised Assistance websiteExternal Link was launched in 2012. It provides up-to-date information on concessions, services and supports.
  • Of the 1,700 programs held in public libraries in 2012-13, 817 were programs for adults and seniors.
  • Considerable upgrades in infrastructure across the city completed during 2013-14 included improved lighting, amenities and accessibility.

Reporting Framework

ACT Government Directorates will contribute to an annual Ministerial Statement presented by the Minister for Ageing to the Assembly on activities and efforts undertaken in their respective areas in progressing the practical outcomes of the Framework.

Mature Age Employment Snapshot

  • At the 2011 Census there were 38,159 ACT residents aged 65 and over, representing 11% of the population. From June 2012 to June 2013 the ACT saw the second largest percentage increase in the 65+ population at 5.1%. 2011 Census data.
  • The Commonwealth Intergenerational Report 2015 (the Report) identified that forty years from now the ‘Aged workforce participation (those 65 plus) will rise to 17.3% from 12.9% today.’ The Report also noted that ‘projections indicate that by 2055, life expectancy at birth will be 95.1 years for men and 96.6 years for women in Australia, so there is a growing urgency in addressing the need to keep workers aged over 65 in the workforce for longer.’ Intergenerational Report.
  • The ACT workforce highly skilled. About 73% of workers hold post-school qualifications, and they are much more likely to hold a bachelor degree or higher qualification than those in other locations. Australian Commonwealth Department of Employment, Australian Jobs 2015. P.10.
  • The ACT Public service employed 21,927 people, as of June 2015. ACT Government Willing to Work: Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians and Australians with Disability submission.
  • As per June 2015, the number of ACT public sector employees aged over 45-65 +years (both male and female) was 9,834 or 45%. ACT Government Willing to Work: Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians and Australians with Disability submission.
  • Overall growth for the combined age ranges occur at a rate of 1.3% in the 2013-14 period, and 1.9% in the 2014-2015 period. ACT Government Willing to Work: Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians and Australians with Disability submission.
  • In the 45-54 and 55-64 cohorts, Full Time employment and Part Time employment are the predominant employment type. However, in the 65+ cohort, Casual employment comes second to Full Time employment (as opposed to Part Time employment in the other two cohorts). ACT Government Willing to Work: Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians and Australians with Disability submission.



Strategic Output

Practical Outcome


Strategic Output

Practical Outcome


Strategic Output

Practical Outcome



Recognise seniors for their important contribution to the continuing social and economic prosperity and development of ACT and surrounding region.

1. Conduct a feasibility study of IRT Health (Jobs) Checkpoint plan pilot to be implemented in the ACT for people in their early 50s.

2. Educate local employers about the benefits of employing mature aged people and dispelling common myths.

3. Provide a range of ACT Government grants for seniors to encourage participation and enable seniors to build their communities.

Implement IRT Health (Jobs) Checkpoint plan pilot in the ACT by December 2016.

Distribution of the ACT Business Chamber Mature Age Workers toolkit to local businesses.

Number of Participation (Seniors), Participation (Digital) grants projects with a seniors employment, training and volunteering focus increased.

Strengthen opportunities for employment, training and volunteering pathways to promote opportunities for mature aged workers.

15. Encourage volunteering and mentoring
programs which link the relevant skills, knowledge and experience of seniors.

Increased participation by seniors in the ACT in Volunteering ACT initiatives and participation on ACT Boards and Committees.

Support older workers with
skills development and career advice that enables
pathways to workforce

Work towards finding innovative solutions, practices and programs to address the issues of mature age employment for seniors.

25. Provide access to ongoing education and
training opportunities for sustainable, alternative employment options for seniors.

Number of education and training
opportunities offered to seniors for employment.


Develop and
support strategies to encourage social and
connectedness for

4. ACT Government grants to encourage
community groups and individual seniors to
apply for grants that support social inclusion and community connectedness for seniors.

5. Build upon community groups and business
participation in the Seniors Card Discount

Applicable ACT Government grants programs to include a seniors focus criterion.

Increased participation of community
groups and business sector to
provide discounts for Seniors Card

ACT government information
is provided to seniors when
and where it is required and
in a format that is accessible
and user friendly.

16. Support community organisations to
specifically support Age-friendly initiatives and research the feasibility of the creation of an
Active Ageing Online directory and an ACT
Age-friendly Mobile App.

17. Support Alzheimer’s Australia ACT to
develop programs similar to the ACT Home and Community Care program that provide information, support, counselling, education
and training for people with dementia and their carers.

Number of community groups that advertise on the Active Ageing
Online directory and users of the
ACT Age-friendly Mobile App.

Increased number of constituents
accessing Alzheimer’s Australia ACT
programs and services.

Enhance seniors
access to ACT government

26. Build social and community connectedness
including funding to Community Centres, Men’s
Sheds, seniors clubs and support for volunteering
and community events and festivals.

27. Encourage access to and training in computers
and the internet with affordable online and other
technology driven skills training.

28. Feasibility study into the extension of the
Digital Hub to include a location in Tuggeranong
with a focus on training, support and information

Increased participation of seniors in
activities associated with the Refugee
Week, Harmony Day, Reconciliation
Week, NAIDOC Week, Multicultural
Festival Seniors Sanctuary, Seniors Week Grandparents Week celebrations.

Increased number of course registrations
by seniors for Canberra Institute of Technology, University of the 3rd Age and Adult Community Education (ACE)
courses focusing on computer and internet

By December 2017.


Establish protocols in all aspects of ACT Government service planning and delivery to ensure diversity is considered in the context of Age-friendly initiatives.

6. Provide cultural and diversity awareness
training for ACT Government staff and volunteers who are working with Age-friendly

7. Host computer training courses for seniors
from multicultural, inter-faith, ACT Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgender, Bisexual, Intersex and Queer and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Increased number of ACT Government
staff and volunteers who participate in
cultural and diversity awareness training.

By June 2016.

Promote active ageing in the
ACT by providing increased
opportunities for seniors
to participate in a range of
social, cultural and
recreational activities

Ensure that seniors are safe, socially connected and healthy.

Support initiatives
that bring the generations
together and reinforce respect for seniors and reduce social isolation.

18. Identify opportunities for intergenerational
collaboration via the ACT Ministerial Council on Ageing, ACT Ministerial Council on Women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected
Body, ACT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,
Bisexual, Intersex and Queer Ministerial
Advisory Council and the Youth Advisory Councils.

19. Promote the Telecross program funded through the ACT Home and Community Care
Program run by the Red Cross. Telecross provides a daily phone call by volunteers to
members of the community who are socially isolated to ensure that they are safe and well.

Increased participation by Advisory Council and Elected Body members in cross portfolio senior initiatives including Refugee Week, Harmony
Day, Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC
Week, Multicultural Festival Seniors
Sanctuary, Seniors Week Expo etc.

Increased number of calls received
by Telecross.

Develop strategies to support participation of seniors in the planning process to plan, develop and deliver projects.

29. Ensure meaningful consultation with seniors in
service planning through best practice approaches
e.g. Meet the Planners sessions.

Increased number of seniors participating
in ACT Government consultations.


Seniors have access to accessible
information including preparedness and end-of life.

8. Work collaboratively with ACT Government
and relevant health service providers to support initiatives that encourage identification of and responses to elder abuse.

9. Conduct a Seniors Health Forum in early 2016 in consultation with ACT Health.

10. Promote ACT Government strategies for
heatwaves, bush fires, flooding taking into account the particular needs of vulnerable seniors.

11. Actively promote the National Disability
Insurance Scheme to seniors with a disability in
the ACT. (National Disability Insurance Scheme only for seniors from 55-65 years).

Coordinated ACT inter-agency support provided by relevant services to seniors experiencing elder abuse.

Qualitative recommendations
regarding Health provisions for seniors provided to the Minister for Ageing by June 2016.

By June 2016.

Increased participation of eligible seniors utilising the National Disability
Insurance Scheme services.

Support seniors to develop healthy lifestyles.

20. Encourage seniors to be informed about how to be healthier through ACT government and Community Education programs and services.

Increased participation of seniors in ACT Government health and
fitness initiatives e.g. Healthy Weight Initiatives Program, Home Nutrition.

Seniors have personal
safety and freedom
from abuse, neglect, and

30. Partner initiatives that build individual and community resilience.

Number of calls received to the Abuse Prevention Information and Referral Line
(APRIL) and the APRIL Mobile App.


Design features and recreational facilities that encourage seniors
to remain physically
and socially active,
to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to be socially engaged.

12. ACT Government public facilities to include strategies with Age-friendly considerations.

13. Investigate feasibility study into the vertical
Age-friendly communities.

ACT Government public facilities to
include consideration of age friendly strategies.

By June 2016.

Age-friendly physical
environment that promotes
independence and safety.

21. Ensure green spaces and outdoor seating
are sufficient in number, well-maintained and
safe and develop a guide to community gardens by conducting a study into where and what is required, as ongoing maintenance.

22. Provide public infrastructure that promotes community safety and Age-friendly community
practices e.g. street lighting.

By December 2017.

Improve seniors access and mobility around the community

31. ACT Government to conduct a feasibility study
into the viability of extending the Age-friendly suburbs program.

ACT Age-friendly Suburbs program
extended to additional ACT suburbs.


Support accessible
and Age-friendly

14. Develop a community education strategy to include a cyclist’s code of conduct.

A cyclist code of conduct available by June 2016.

Develop programs and services geared to the needs of seniors and invest in
modern transport infrastructure

23. Support initiatives to assist older people to
work with COTA ACT and ACT Government in
National Road Safety Week on awareness of
road safety issues for older road users

24. Extension of the Flexible Bus Service to meet
the specific needs of isolated seniors in the ACT noting an extension of this service would be conditional on the outcome of a future budget

Number of seniors who partake in the awareness program.

Increased number of seniors using the Flexible Bus Service and the
extension of the service.

Provide public transport and infrastructure that
is safe, maintained and secure for seniors.

32. Ensure bus stops and stations are conveniently
located, accessible, safe, clean, well lit and well-marked, with adequate seating and shelter.

33. Ensure safer roads for seniors and our community. Creation of the new pedestrian or
‘refuge islands’.

34. Ensure safer pedestrian crossing by limiting
left turn lanes prior to intersections so that cars stop at signalised left turns.

By 31 Dec 2017 90% of bus stops must be upgraded to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Increased number of ‘refuge islands’ in highly trafficked areas.

By June 2018