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Ageing population is positive: Butler

Minister for ageing says the government welcomes the growing number of centenarians.

The Gillard Labor Government welcomes the prediction of 50,000 Australian centenarians by the middle of the century, an international conference has been told.

Opening the first Australasian Conference on Centenarians, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said centenarians are an invaluable source of experience and knowledge.

“They are living history books, but so much better than the dry pages of history because they offer insights, opinions and have the ability to answer specific questions,” Butler said.

A person who reached 100 years of age in 2050 would already be approaching retirement age today, making retirements of 30 years and longer not unusual.

“In the last budget, the Labor Government reaffirmed our commitment to reforming the pension system.

“We aim to provide greater financial support for pensioners by increasing their payments and continuing to build a pension system that is sustainable, both now and into the future,” Butler said.

The Government also encouraged active ageing by supporting all Australians – not just older Australians – to be active physically, mentally, socially and financially.

“Preparing for old age is a task that should begin in young adulthood if not before – it needs to be worked at throughout the life cycle.

“This Government is taking full policy and funding responsibility for national aged care services as a first step in developing an aged care system that will cover basic home care through to nursing homes.

“But we also want older Australians to be able to avoid requiring these services for as long as possible through the promotion of healthy, active aging,” he told delegates.

AAP

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