According to the World Health Organisation, an age-friendly world:
… enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treats everyone with respect, regardless of their age. It is a place that makes it easy for older people to stay connected to people that are important to them. And it helps people stay healthy and active even at the oldest ages and provides appropriate support to those who can no longer look after themselves.
Since 2010, the ACT Government, with input from the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, has been actively working to drive better support, connections and initiatives for senior Canberrans across the areas of transport, infrastructure, health, justice and human rights.
In 2011, Canberra was accepted as a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities.
In 2018, senior Canberrans participated in the Age-Friendly Survey, which asked them to share their views and experiences on what was working well and what needed to improve. Results revealed that 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 indicated that we need to better value the experience and knowledge of older people, with nearly a third of respondents stating that they had been subject to age‑based discrimination, including being made to feel invisible or underestimated often when shopping or in the workplace. Respondents also commented on the accessibility and affordability of housing, transport and other public amenities.
Taking into account the insights gained from the Age-Friendly Survey, in 2019 the ACT Government released Age-Friendly Canberra - A Vision for Our City which outlined twelve principles across four focus areas:
- Involved, connected and valued
- Safe, secure and free from abuse
- Information, services and support which embrace diversity
- A city for all ages.
The Vision informed the development of the Age-Friendly City Plan, which was launched in March 2020. The focus of the Plan is on practical achievements that address the barriers older Canberrans have told us they face in staying mobile and socially connected, accessing services and living free from abuse. Implementation of actions relies on collaboration across the ACT Government, and also with our Commonwealth and state and territory counterparts, to achieve wide-ranging and holistic reforms.