Push for Tasmanian minister for seniors

National Seniors has called for a dedicated minister for seniors and ageing in Tasmania to elevate the prominence of ageing issues as a state priority ahead of the 15 March election.

 

Consumer lobby group National Seniors has called for a dedicated minister for seniors and ageing in Tasmania to elevate the prominence of ageing issues as a state priority ahead of the 15 March election.

National Seniors state policy advisory group chair Mary Parsissons said a standalone portfolio would improve government accountability and planning for an ageing population and would pull Tasmania into line with the majority of Australian states and territories which have a specific ministry.

Tasmania’s population is the oldest of all the states and territories and is also ageing at the fastest rate. Currently 52 per cent of Tasmania’s population is aged 50 and over.

Ms Parsissons said the issues facing older Tasmanians should be addressed by a government minister whose time and resources was not shared by a number of competing interests, as is the case under the current community development portfolio.

No commitment 

However, at the lobby group’s pre-election forum in Hobart on Monday, none of the three major parties committed to the creation of a separate ministry position, citing the small size of the Tasmanian Parliament.

Labor MP Scott Bacon however said a re-elected Labor government would review the feasibility of establishing a commissioner for the aged with an advisory committee made up of older Tasmanians and relevant interest groups.

Ms Parsissons welcomed the announcement as a “good start” but encouraged all the major parties to examine the benefits of a dedicated minister already in place in the mainland states.

Elise Archer from the Liberal Party said a majority Liberal Government would commit $450,000 to expand strategies to address elder abuse in the community and invest $250,000 for an affordable housing strategy for seniors.

Other issues raised by attendees at the seniors election forum included cost of living pressures, support for mature age workers to remain in the workforce, the cost of adult education and action to increase transport options between Tasmania and the mainland.

Tasmania will head to the polls on 15 March.

Read the National Seniors 2014 election priorities here

Tags: ageing minister, national-seniors, Tasmanian election 2014,

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