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Surfing the Net saves time for seniors.



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David Hawker MP Federal Member for Wannon Electorate Office: 190 Gray Street, Hamilton, Vic., 3300 Ph: (03) 5572 1100 or Local Call 1300 131 692 Fax: (03) 55 72 1141 Email: David.Hawker.MP@aph.gov.au Web: www.davidhawker.com.au

Media Release The Hon David Hawker MP Speaker of the House of Representatives Federal Member for Wannon

19 April 2005

SURFING THE NET SAVES TIME FOR SENIORS

Member for Wannon, David Hawker, today urged older Western Victorians to make the most of the Internet with the launch of the new, revamped Australian Government Seniors Portal - www.seniors.gov.au - the one-stop Internet site for older Australians.

“This site, dedicated to the needs and interests of people aged 50 plus in our local community, is an excellent reason for local seniors to log on and find out more about government and non-government services and benefits,” Mr Hawker said.

The new Seniors Portal includes concise, user-friendly information for older Australians from over 290 government and non-government agencies, relating to health, finance, aged care, rights and specific programs for seniors.

New interactive features include: • A Living History segment which enables site users to submit their own recollections of an event that shaped our nation - the first event featured is the 1964 Beatles tour of Australia; • An Events Calendar, which provides information on local community events of interest to seniors; • The Meeting Place, a discussion board for hobbies and other leisure interests; and • The Q&A Forum which enables older Australians to discuss online a wide variety of topics with experts.

Mr Hawker said many older people had missed out on workplace training in information technology, and may find it a bit intimidating, but those who made the effort were finding it had great benefits.

“The Seniors Portal, for example, can save you endless hours of walking or phone calls to different offices, to get the information and advice you need,” Mr Hawker said.

A survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that the proportion of over 65 year olds using computers had doubled between 1998 and 2002, and older people were spending more than other age groups on goods and services purchased on the Internet. However, only a small proportion of seniors access government services via the web.

“I encourage older residents in Western Victoria to take the plunge, click onto the Seniors Portal, and tell their stories of the times that have helped shape our nation through the Living History segment,” Mr Hawker said.

Media contact: Jane Templeton (03) 5572 1100