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Sports Minister sets challenge

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Media Release

The Federal Minister for Sport and Tourism, Jackie Kelly, says she wants Australians to remain physically and mentally active into old age.

“The International Year of the Older Person serves as a timely reminder of the enormous contribution that older people have made and continue to make to Australian life,” Kelly said.

“I strongly believe in promoting life-long achievement as a simple means of keeping people healthy and happy. Everyone - young or old - deserves to have personal goals and strive to achieve them,” the Minister said.

Jackie Kelly said that while the Federal Government is working hard to help prepare athletes for the 2000 Games - effort is also going into getting more Australians of all ages to participate in sport for the health and well-being of the nation.

“Reduced heart disease, stronger limbs, and the added bonus of increased social interaction are just a few of the benefits - particularly from middle age on.

“Only half of older Australians get exercise and that’s not anywhere near enough. Through Active Australia - we are working to promote vitality and action across the spectrum.

A new national TV and print advertising strategy - launched today - features a chronically unfit looking character called ‘Rusty.’

Minister Kelly said no thinking Australian wants to be like Rusty - the challenge is encourage people to care enough to actually do something about it. “Many people experience very active younger years but for a range of reasons stop participating,” Kelly said.

“Sport can provide older people a new lease on life. Sport is not just for young people. Everyone can - and should stay active and healthy.

“The success of the Masters Games is one more example of how worthwhile older people’s participation in organised sport can be.

“To that end we’re promoting the Australian Masters and we’re encouraging activity across the board - whether it be joining a sporting club, an exercise class or starting up a neighbourhood walking group.

“I am challenging sports clubs and organisations throughout Australia to take up the challenge of reinvesting in older people for the spirit and good health of the nation”, Jackie Kelly said.

Minister for Sport and Tourism

Friday, 19 February 1999 99/019


Media inquiries: Peter Cassuben CMR117 Minister Kelly’s Office 0417 980 009