Positive ageing on the Coast given the thumbs up
  • Friday 01 July 2011

Sunshine Coast Council’s commitment to positive ageing on the Sunshine Coast was given the green light yesterday.

The Sunshine Coast Positive Ageing Strategy 2011-2016 – adopted at council’s Ordinary Meeting on Wednesday – will contribute towards council’s vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region: vibrant, green and diverse.

Community Policy and Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the five-year strategy outlined council’s commitment to working with key agencies and the community to build strong, connected and resilient age-friendly Sunshine Coast communities.

"The purpose of the strategy is to understand and respond to the changing needs of ageing residents and acknowledge the positive contributions they make to the region," she said.

The Sunshine Coast has a substantial ageing population in line with the rest of Australia. The natural ageing of the Coast’s population is accentuated by the ‘sea change’ phenomenon resulting in a high number of retirees and ‘baby boomers’ moving to the region.

It is predicted that by 2026, 37% of the Sunshine Coast population will be 55 years and over, which is higher than the predicted percentage of over 55 year olds across Queensland of 30%*.

Cr McKay said the significant growth of the ageing population requires a coordinated approach from council and our various key partners to manage the challenges and impacts.

"The strategy has been developed through extensive community engagement with older people, along with the broader community, service providers, community organisations, government agencies and various areas across council," she said.

"The strategy promotes collaboration between council and these agencies, to share information, communicate and identify opportunities for partnerships. This approach will ensure agencies within the ageing sector on the Sunshine Coast work together to maximise benefits to older people."

Council engaged with the community in a number of ways to ensure the strategy reflected the needs of older Sunshine Coast residents. Between October and November 2011 council conducted the Positive Ageing Community Survey. There were 785 respondents to the survey, providing information on what positive ageing mean to our communities, challenges people face, and their aspirations for the future.

In February this year, council hosted the Sunshine Coast Positive Ageing Conference 2011. The conference brought together over 60 representatives from more than 40 key agencies across the region to develop a shared strategic direction in addressing the needs of older people.

The outcomes of these and other engagement activities have directly informed the development of the strategy to ensure it is responsive to the needs of the community.

Cr McKay said the creation of age-friendly communities was identified in the strategy as a major focus.

"Age-friendly communities are places where older people can get around easily and safely, buildings and housing are accessible, transport is affordable, there are a range of opportunities to participate in community life, and all community members respect each other," she said.

*Queensland Government, Planning and Information Forecasting Unit, 2008