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Monday, 30 October 2006
Page: 0

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament:

This petition of certain concerned citizens of Australia seeks to draw the attention of the House to the need for nationally funded community legal centres aimed at meeting the needs of older Australians.

The demographic forecasts for Australia indicate that by the year 2016, 16% of the Australian population (approximately 3.5 million people) will be aged 65 years and over. People in this sector of the community can be vulnerable to a variety of forms of abuse including physical and financial abuse and often have health or mobility problems that make it impossible for them to access mainstream legal services. Legal issues arising under Commonwealth and State laws will confront many people in this age group.

There is a need for national recognition of the complexity of legal issues for this sector of the community and part of that recognition would include the establishment of specialist legal services addressing the unique needs of this ever-growing sector of the population.

Your petitioners therefore request the House to fund nationally the establishment of community-based legal services to:

  • undertake community and professional education with the aim of increasing awareness of problems such as the domestic violence and financial abuse confronting older people;
  • protect the rights of older Australians, particularly those made vulnerable as a result of dementia or other health issues;
  • undertake case-work that will advance the interests of this sector of the community;
  • advocate for appropriate law reform impacting on the rights and interests of older people.
by Mr Truss (from 13 citizens)

Petitions received.