Aussie population getting older

With Australia’s population getting older, Byron Council has developed a policy aimed at making the experience more positive for the ageing in the shire.

According to New South Wales Statistical Local Area Population Projections 2001 – 2031, people aged 50 and over will account for approximately 47.3 per cent of Byron Shire’s population by 2031.

 In 2001 people aged 50 and over accounted for 28.4% of the Shire’s population.

Mayor Cr Jan Barham said an ageing population had implications on infrastructure, community assets, planning provisions, housing, accommodation and transport.

Living longer

“Forward planning is vital in order to cater for the differing needs and expectations of older people,” she said.

“We are living longer and we need to ensure opportunities are provided for positive interactions within our community and across generations.

“The draft Positive Ageing Policy recognises that council is committed to planning, providing and advocating to state and federal government for a range of services and facilities that will support the aged population in leading healthy and fulfilling lives.”

Cr Barham said the draft policy offered a future vision for ageing residents in an inclusive community and identified the following needs of an ageing population:

THE need to feel safe and are well cared for.
THAT diversity is reflected through age and culture.
THAT older residents feel respected by younger people, thus strengthening community bonds.
THAT people of all ages and backgrounds are supported and provided for through quality education, health services and entertainment.

Cr Barham said that an ageing population was also recognised through the appointment of the council’s aged and disability officer back in November 2008.

She said key achievements had included the recently launched Good Access is Good Business guide and the upcoming shire mobility maps.

Following the draft policy exhibition, the council will establish a project reference group to contribute towards the Positive Ageing Plan.

The draft Positive Ageing Policy is on public submission until Thursday February 11 and can be viewed on the council’s website, at the council’s Mullumbimby office, or at community access points including Federal Store, Bangalow Post Office, Summerland Credit Union Ocean Shores, Suffolk Park Holiday Park and shire libraries.

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