The number of Australians older than 60 years is expected to double by the year 2010, meaning a dramatic increase in demand for support services.
In 1990, this proportion of older people was 10 per cent, and is expected to likely jump to 20 per cent in the next two decades.
Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper said the needs and rights of Western Australians with disabilities were already major community issues which would become increasingly important.
Mr Ripper today officially opened a seminar in Perth entitled 'An International Perspective on Ageing and Disability' as part of Seniors' Week. The seminar was jointly organised by the Advisory Councils for Disability Services and Seniors.
"Disability is an issue which is likely to personally touch all of us in some way, and already an estimated one-in-eight (about 191,000 people) of the State's population has a disability of some form," Mr Ripper said.
Three per cent of children up to four years old, had some form of disability, but this increased to nearly two-thirds of Western Australians older than 75 years.
"Our rapidly ageing society demands a corresponding rapid change in general community attitudes to the needs and rights of both seniors and Western Australians with disabilities.
"It is vitally important for our society to come together, recognise and celebrate the valuable role of people with disabilities and seniors in our community.
"There is much work to be done, through such initiatives as the 'Finding Better Ways' community awareness and action strategy, to encourage better public recognition of the abilities and potential of these important groups."
Mr Ripper said Western Australia led the nation, 15 months ago, in the establishment of a specific Minister for Disability Services and much had been achieved since then, through the Bureau for Disability Services and the Disability Services Advisory Council. Western Australian seniors also benefited from their own Minister, portfolio and advisory council.