|Implemented in this survey?|
The Report of the Community Consultations, about the National Strategy for and Ageing Australia (February 2002), summarises feedback from individuals and groups throughout Australia. In all there were 15 consultation meetings during 2002, across all 8 States and Territories, attended by the Minister for Ageing. The consultations were to (a) gain broad stakeholder support for the Strategy, and (b) to gather specific ideas about how to implement the Strategy.
The Report of the Community Consultations about the National Strategy for and Ageing Australia summarises the feedback from individuals and groups throughout Australia. In
all there were 15 consultation meetings during 2002, across all 8 States and Territories, involving 460 attendees. [The National Strategy itself was launched in February 2002, and is available
The consultations appear to have been intended (a) as a way of gaining broad stakeholder support for and involvement in the further development of the Strategy, and (b) to gather specific and practical ideas about how to implement the Strategy. More specifically, the Minister for Ageing directly asked all participants for specific "practical ideas about how we implement programs and policies".
The consultation report, like the National Strategy, is focused on a wide range of policy issues associated with an ageing population, but healthy ageing and better services for older Australians were recurring themes. In addition to 'healthy ageing', other issues raised during the consultations concerned:
Under the healthy ageing theme, people proposed the following:
Education - Consultees felt that Australians needed better education and information on gaining and maintaining healthy lifestyles, by building healthy ageing concepts and knowledge into: all health promotion campaigns; retirement planning; the work and training of general practitioners and the roles of Divisions of General Practice. The success of many of these initiatives would, it is believed, be enhanced by a focus of wellness rather than illness, and collaborative efforts to coordinate the activities of different organisations and all levels of government.
Programs and activities - Suggestions included policies to encourage: infrastructure in local communities to encourage healthy ageing activities; healthy ageing activities in the workplace and flexible work hours; private health insurance rebates for healthy ageing activities.
Wellness not illness as a focus - Wellness as a focus should be built into funding models; greater recognition of men's health issues; and use of the Seniors Card to provide discounts for healthy ageing activities.
Thus, currently the main outcome of the consultation exercise is a long, but unprioritised list of practical ideas and principles that communities believe should be used to refine and implement the National Strategy.
The community consultations appear to have been intended (a) as a way of gaining broad stakeholder support for and involvement in the further development of the Strategy, and (b) to gather
specific and practical ideas about how to implement the Strategy.
The consultation report, like the National Strategy, is focused on a wide range of policy issues associated with an ageing population, but healthy ageing and better services for older Australians were recurring themes.
Currently there are no incentives built into this policy, other than the desire to contribute to Ageing policy in Australia.
|Degree of Innovation||traditional||innovative|
|Degree of Controversy||consensual||highly controversial|
|Structural or Systemic Impact||marginal||fundamental|
|Public Visibility||very low||very high|
Too early to tell, since this is a major but still very broad strategic initiative in its early development. The National Strategy identifies a set of principles, goals and suggested (uncosted) actions, almost all of which are difficult to disagree with. Judgements about the ultimate impact of the National Strategy must await more specific plans for implementing it.
The facts relating to the ageing of the Australian population must at least partly account for the current policy focus on ageing in Australia: currently 2.4 million Australians (12%) are aged 65
years or older, and this is projected to grow to 4.2 million, or 18% of the population by 2023. With lengthening life expectancy, the numbers aged 80 years or older is expected to double by
The federal ministerial portfolio of Ageing was created following the Australian federal election in late 2001, and sits within the Department for Health and Ageing. The first federal Minister for Ageing, the Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, attended the Second World Assembly of Ageing, in Madrid, Spain in April 2002 (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/ageing/waa/index.html). This reportedly gave the Minister many ideas and much enthusiasm, which have both subsequently fed into Australian government strategic thinking and actions on the Ageing issue. (Note: In October 2003 a cabinet re-shuffle has appointed a new Federal Minister for Ageing: Julie Bishop MP).
Parallel initiatives: Activities to build capacity in ageing research (BARC) have recently also gained momentum via two national forums (http://www.ageingsymposium.com.au/index.html). BARC is a collaborative venture between the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Office for and Ageing Australia (within the federal Department of Health and Ageing).
National Strategy for an Ageing Australia, February 2002
|Implemented in this survey?|
The Community Consultations are a direct extension and development of the National Strategy for an Ageing Australia.
The approach of the idea is described as:
amended: The development of the National Strategy is an almost inevitable consequence of the decision to create a Minister for Ageing within the government, elevating the importance of ageing policy within government.
Questions about the core themes of the National Strategy for an Ageing Australia were used as the basis for the Community Consultations exercise. However, as well as gathering practical ideas about how to implement the National Strategy, it was clearly also a public relations exercise for making early connections with potential stakeholders around the country. The participants were "drawn from a wide range of community groups, local business, local government, and health industry", and the report indicates that the Minister for Ageing attended and spoke at all, if not most of the consultation meetings.
Too early to tell. The Government has not formally responded to the consultation exercise (e.g. stating which new ideas will be used/considered, or how it might change aspects of the
While it is too early to evaluate the outcome of this initiative, it has been the catalyst for several reviews in the residential and community aged care sectors, provided a foundation for policy initiatives at the State level (e.g. State Aged Care Plan in Western Australia - www.health.wa.gov.au/publications) and also stimulated activity among stakeholder and consumer groups.
National Strategy for an Ageing Australia (NSAA), available from:
Report on the Community Consultations, and other background information on the development of the National Strategy for an Ageing Australia, are available from:
A description of the current aged care system in Australia can be viewed at:
CHERE is grateful for the checking and contribution of information by Barbara Horner, Director of the Centre for Research into Aged Care Services, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia.
Rob Anderson, Marion Haas