Canberra is a city built by many of our older Canberrans. In 1950, Canberra was home to fewer than 20,000 people, and now the city is preparing for a population of more than 500,000 by 2030.
According to 2016 Census data, 12.5% of Canberrans are aged 65 years and over. This is about 50,000 people – and this number will continue to grow. We recognise the increasing number and proportion of Canberrans who are older as an asset to the city. At the same time we recognise the responsibility to ensure our city's services, health
care, culture and infrastructure meet the needs of older people.
Our recent Age-Friendly City Survey highlighted the active role older Canberrans play. They work, volunteer, assist family and friends and undertake advisory roles. Older Canberrans have the highest rates of volunteering and caring nationally and are the most educated in the country. They bring significant resources to the social, community and economic life of our city.
Canberra was accepted as a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age-Friendly cities in 2011. This membership recognises that the ACT Government is already working on age friendly approaches in transport, infrastructure, health, justice and human rights – but we want to do more.
Age-Friendly Canberra - A Vision for our City outlines the government’s priorities for ensuring, as our city grows, it continues to evolve as an age friendly city. The Vision identifies twelve key principles which will guide ongoing work and provide the foundations for an Age-Friendly City Plan which the government will be developing over the
I thank the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing for their work towards preparing this Vision. I also thank Canberrans who have participated in consultations – your insights have been integral in setting the direction for Canberra’s future. We all have a role to play to grow Canberra as an inclusive city that values the contributions and
involvement of older Canberrans.
Gordon Ramsay MLA
MINISTER FOR SENIORS AND VETERANS
Older people bring experience, wisdom and personal and economic resources to our city. Everyone benefits when the intrinsic worth of older people and their active involvement in the community, and as decision makers, is valued and fostered.
|The contribution that older people make to the Canberra community is valued and recognised.||Older people’s social inclusion and engagement in community life is fostered, including in employment, volunteer, and advisory roles.||Older people are consulted and empowered. The voice of older people is heard in policy development and delivery.||The special commitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders in their contributions to the ACT region through sharing their extensive history, cultural knowledge and traditions is acknowledged.|
Canberra was the first state or territory in Australia to pass a Human Rights Act.
All Canberrans have the right to dignity, security and equality regardless of their age, income, status, background, location or any other social or economic factors.
Fundamental to the human rights of older Canberrans is that they are able to live free from abuse, violence and exploitation.
|The human rights of older Canberrans are protected. Barriers preventing the full exercise of those rights are identified and removed.||Ageism is addressed by changing community attitudes and perceptions, showing respect, and affording dignity and agency to older people.||The abuse of older people in any form is not tolerated. The protection of older people from any form of abuse is a priority and is paramount.|
Access to information, services and supports is key to assisting Canberrans to stay connected and active to enjoy a good quality of life as they age. Service provision needs to be responsive to individual circumstances and to recognise older people’s equal right to choice and control over their lives.
Access to information, services and supports for older people to engage in the life of the community is provided.|
Older people are assisted in their use of digital technology.
|Older people’s diversity in all its forms is celebrated and culturally appropriate means are available to address needs.||Older people are able to access health and wellbeing services that effectively support them to live a good life.|
We want a city for all ages, where the physical environment including pathways, buildings, open spaces and roads, is safe and easy to navigate to enable all Canberrans to be active and involved.
Access to affordable, secure and appropriate housing is fundamental to older people’s wellbeing. Accessible and user friendly transport enables older Canberrans to remain active.
|The city’s services meet the specific needs of older people.||Older people are consulted about, and have access to, affordable and accessible housing options that are close to transport and community services and suited to their needs.|
VISION STATEMENT Older Canberrans are recognised as valued members of our community and enabled to lead productive and active lives as they age.
Informing the Vision for Our City
In 2018, the ACT Government began planning for the next steps for an age-friendly Canberra.
An important part of that planning was The Age-Friendly City Survey (768 responses), which asked older Canberrans to share their views and experiences on what was working well and what needed to improve.
Results show older Canberrans have a high level of engagement with community and actively help and support family and friends. Almost all respondents indicated they had the information and support needed to stay healthy and connected.
However, results also indicate we need to better value the experience and knowledge of older people. 29% of respondents said they had been subject to age-based discrimination, including being made to feel invisible or underestimated often when shopping or in the workplace.
Many respondents identified housing and transport as priority areas for older Canberrans. They indicated there is a need for more ground level, single storey, affordable housing options close to transport and amenities.
They also indicated the importance of readily available and accessible public transport and parking as well as safe walkways.
Next Steps for an Age Friendly Canberra
Results of the Age-Friendly City Survey and the expertise of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing were used to identify a set of twelve foundational principles, identified in Age-Friendly Canberra - A Vision for our City, that will guide our work to foster Canberra as an age-friendly city.
These principles will be applied to work impacting older Canberrans now and into the future. They will also be used to inform an Age-Friendly City Plan to be developed in consultation with older people and the community.
This plan will align with other key ACT Government Frameworks, including the ACT Planning Strategy 2018, the ACT Housing Strategy, and the Moving Canberra: Integrated Transport Strategy.