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Wednesday, 13 August 2003
Page: 18475

Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (9:55 AM) —I am particularly pleased to see my good friend and colleague the honourable member for Fairfax in the chamber, because he and I are fortunate to represent jointly the most desirable part of Australia in which to live, and that of course is the Sunshine Coast. Many people vote with their feet by leaving the rust-belt areas of southern Australia to move to the Sunshine Coast. We have a very large number of seniors, and it is important as elected representatives that we consult with seniors so that we are able to look after their interests in Canberra and represent what they want to see achieved in the federal parliament.

Last Friday it was my pleasure to co-host, with the Fisher Seniors Council, the 2003 Fisher Seniors Forum and Expo at the Kawana Community Centre. This was third time that we have run the seniors expo and forum and about 200 people attended. We had some interesting speakers. The event was very well received, and people were pleased to receive information in relation to seniors issues from the very many organisations which set up stalls to indicate the services that they are able to provide to seniors in the electorate of Fisher.

The forum and expo are part of an initiative that I established in 1999 during the highly successful International Year of the Older Person to ensure that seniors have the opportunity to raise issues concerning them. I am the chairman of the Fisher Seniors Council, but it is chaired on a day-to-day basis by the deputy chairman, Mrs Maureen Kingston AM. She does a wonderful job in coordinating the members of the Fisher Seniors Council who represent the Association of Independent Retirees; National Seniors; the Council on the Ageing; the University of the Third Age; the Positive Ageing Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast; the Sunshine Coast seniors newspaper; the Australian Pensioners and Superannuants League; Legacy; Sunshine 60 and Better; National Senior Citizens, Grandparents and Grandchildren; the Returned Services League; and other community groups. As you can see, Mr Deputy Speaker, this is a very representative group indeed.

This year's seniors forum and expo saw some very interesting presentations by the Queensland president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Ingrid Tall; the Queensland community relationships officer from Diabetes Australia, Alan Cameron; elder law specialist, Brian Herd; and seniors holiday travel representative, Sharon Forbes. They spoke on a wide range of health, legal and travel issues affecting seniors and the very many opportunities that are available to them.

This year, in particular, the seniors at the forum were given some practical advice on how to avoid the onset of diabetes, preserving memory, living with stress and reducing the risk of heart attack. Discussion about the importance of having a will and power of attorney documents also created a lot of interest. In the past, we have had Bronwyn Bishop and Kevin Andrews attend. We were to have had Judi Moylan attend this year but, unfortunately, because of a family bereavement, she was unable to be present. The Fisher Seniors Forum and Expo has become part of the landscape on the Sunshine Coast, and I am looking forward to the fourth event next year. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. I.R. Causley)—Order! In accordance with standing order 275A the time for members' statements has concluded.