Premier Carmen Lawrence today pledged Government support to initiatives aimed at allowing Western Australia's senior citizens to lead full and productive lives in comfort and safety.
Dr Lawrence said the State's strategy on ageing would set the framework within which the concerns of an ageing population could be met well into the next century.
"In 30 years, one in five Western Australians will be aged 60-years or over and this presents both the Government and the community with new challenges," the Premier said.
"The Government's strategy on ageing addresses these challenges."
The Premier said a key to the strategy was short, medium and long-term proposals which would ensure Government departments and agencies incorporated seniors' interests in their overall planning.
As well, the Government would establish a review group to examine the training and employment needs of people aged 45 and over.
Other priorities included:
· a continued commitment to the Wise Choice housing program through which up to 2,000 cluster home units would be built over the next five years;
· the establishment of a seniors' housing information service;
· an examination of options for integrating housing and home-care services for seniors living in public sector housing;
· continuing negotiations with the Commonwealth to determine responsibility for nursing homes, hostels and the Home and Community Care Program; and,
· the implementation of a health promotion program for seniors.
The Premier said the transport needs of an ageing population would be incorporated into the planning activities of Transperth and the Department of Transport.
The strategy also addressed safety and security issues and recreation and leisure programs.
"The strategy has evolved from wide ranging consultations undertaken throughout the State by the Office of Seniors' Interests," Dr Lawrence said.
"What emerged most clearly is the desire of seniors to maintain their independence and to continue living in their own homes," she said.
"But for this to be feasible they need access to quality health care, transport and other services, and to feel safe and secure at home.
"The strategy on ageing is a blueprint to ensure these matters are addressed, building on the Government's achievements to date.
"The responsibility for planning does not rest solely with the Government. It is also the responsibility of local authorities, community groups and individuals.
"Coupled with that must be a recognition by all of us that senior citizens have a wealth of knowledge and experience to pass on."