Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Will 'grey power' be a factor as New South Wales goes to the polls on Saturday?

Monday 23 March 2015


A poll conducted by COTA NSW during Seniors Week showed that 65% of respondents do not believe that they’re a priority for politicians in the run up to the New South Wales (NSW) election on 28 March.

“We surveyed hundreds of people attending Seniors Week events and found a high level of dissatisfaction among older voters. For too long the major parties have tended to assume that older voters are ‘rusted on’, and their votes can be taken for granted. This is no longer the case.”

Over 43% of the State’s electorate is aged 50 and over, which translates to almost 2.5 million people.

“Once again we’ve seen few election commitments targeting older voters,” said Mr Day. “We were pleased to see the Premier commit $343 million to extend vital concessions for seniors. But aside from this, we’ve seen little focus on older people’s needs.”

“Older voters helped make NSW the great state it is. They want to continue to be able to participate in the society and the economy. This means they want politicians to tell them what they’ll do so they can continue to participate in paid employment, and to have access to appropriate housing in well-planned communities. They want to know how politicians envisage a transport system that will meet the needs of all voters, and a health system that recognises the needs of people at every life stage.”

“Politicians need to appreciate that an ability to recognise the priorities of older voters is a sign of basic political understanding. If you can’t understand 43% of the NSW electorate, whose interests are you serving?”

“Older voters want substance. They want to be presented with long-range plans that set out a vision for an age-inclusive society, where older people are able to continue to participate in every aspect of life.”

“They also want to see Ageing Strategies that indicate political parties have a clear sense of how they would undertake co-ordinated, whole-of-government action to ensure such a society is achieved. Sadly, we’ve seen nothing like this from either major party in the run up to Saturday’s election.”

Letter to the Editor in The Northern Star, 13 March 2015:

Mention dementia

A number of candidates standing at the forthcoming state election have mentioned mental health services and cancer treatment as issues important to their electorates, but I have yet to hear any express an opinion on the subject of dementia.

According to Alzheimer's Australia: "Dementia is the third leading cause of death in Australia".

Dementia prevalence projections by NSW electorates on the Far North Coast expects the number of people suffering from this devastating disease to rise by 2020 to 6,903 [nsw.fightdementia.org.au, August 2014].

Broken down by electorate this comes to Ballina 1623, Clarence 1697, Lismore 1565 and Tweed 2018.

The prevalence projection for the number of people with dementia within North Coast Area Health Service boundaries in 25 year's time is 27,661.

It's time all state election candidates in NSW North Coast electorates considered the social and economic implications of these figures and inform today's voters how they will begin the task of attracting federal and state government funding for increased health and support services in the region.

Because some of today's voters may find themselves in families affected by this devastating disease tomorrow.

Judith M. Melville

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