JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
SENATOR THE HON. MITCH FIFIELD
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES
SENATOR THE HON. CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR SOCIAL SERVICES
Cultural Diversity in Ageing 2014 Conference
Senator Mitch Fifield and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells today joined to address the Cultural Diversity in Ageing 2014 Conference in Melbourne.
“It was a pleasure to address the Cultural Diversity in Ageing Conference today,” Senator Mitch Fifield, the Minister with responsibility for ageing and aged care, said.
One of the great things about the portfolio is that our ageing population is truly one of the untapped national resources that we have. An ageing population living longer, living better, living healthier and living well is something that we have been striving for, for generations.”
“But we can’t talk about this great ageing population without acknowledging the great asset that is our culturally diverse community,” Senator Fifield said.
“Getting older and finding the right aged care is a challenge for any individual and their family. When you put that together with a CALD background, it can be doubly challenging.”
“Since becoming the Minister with responsibility for Aged Care after the 2013 election, I’ve been deeply impressed by the commitment of the various community organisations and aged care providers who cater to the multicultural community,” Senator Fifield said.
“As Minister responsible for disability and aged care, I know first-hand how much people from diverse backgrounds appreciate having access to services that are delivered by people who share their background,” Senator Fifield said.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the conference was a testament to the rich tapestry of multicultural Australia.
“After World War II, Australia embarked on one of the most ambitious programs of nation building the world has seen,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
“As a nation we have achieved enormous strength and unity from our cultural diversity, which has brought with it creativity, prosperity and a unique sense of community.”
“The statistics indicate that there is a growing cohort of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds needing to access residential and home care.”
The top two groups are the Italians and the Greeks. The lessons learnt in these communities will provide valuable insight into future demands for other CALD communities,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
The Senators emphasised the Government’s awareness of the need to be mindful of culturally diverse communities as part of the aged care changes that will come into effect from 1 July 2014.
“The first point of contact for all Australians through this change process in aged care will be the My Aged Care gateway,” Senator Fifield said.
“The gateway is not just an online contact point, because we recognise people need human contact and that is particularly the case for people who are culturally and linguistically diverse.”
“A call centre will also form part of the My Aged Care gateway, providing information on aged care and support for consumers. Callers to the gateway will also be able to use the Translation and Interpretation Services,” Senator Fifield said.
“Initially web content will be available in 7 languages, but this is going to be expanded to a further 18 languages this year,” Senator Fifield said.
“Additionally, an Access Strategy for People with Diverse Needs has been developed to help make the service more accessible.”
The Senators also said that the aged care sector more generally can learn a lot from people of different heritage and how they care for their older people.
“Culturally diverse communities are a rich source of knowledge and learnings when it comes to providing high quality care to older Australians of all backgrounds,” Senator Fifield said.
Senator Fifield was also pleased to announce at the conference a $1.5 million investment to better support emerging aged care needs in CALD communities.
12 June 2014
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