International Year of Older Persons

1999 has been designated as the United Nation's International Year of Older Persons (IYOP). The IYOP will provide an opportunity for government, business, the community and families to work together to improve the health and wellbeing of older people.

It will provide an important focus on issues which all older Australians face - from retirement incomes and health services to urban planning and access to sport and recreational opportunities.

Some international years come and go with little impact, while others bring about long term attitudinal or structural change.

Local Government authorities have a key part to play in ensuring that the International Year has a lasting effect on the quality of life and wellbeing of older Australians.

Australians over the age of 50 are a diverse and varied group, yet, in common with many other people, have an expectation that Local Government Authorities will provide sport and recreational activities.

This can be the provision of facilities, organised classes, support for community clubs or the creation of an accessible, secure and attractive environment in which informal recreation can take place. This includes signposted walks, cycle paths and safe swimming areas.

As a response to the IYOP, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Department of Health and Family Services: Public Health Division and the Office for the Aged will be highlighting the issue of physical activity and thereby the overall wellbeing of older Australians in a national campaign.

This campaign will offer the following opportunities to local authorities.

  • A national awareness of physical activity for older Australians upon which more local promotional initiatives can be based
  • A community grants fund in each State to support small scale local initiatives
  • Grant aid to support examples of Local Government good practice
  • Never Too Late program funding to support physical activity initiatives involving war veterans, veterans' wives or carers
  • Information and campaign kits for individuals and organisations in a position to promote or provide physical activity for older people
  • A publication Actively Ageing (available free of charge from November 1998) which highlights the issues and profiles some of the most innovative sport and recreation projects for older Australians

To encourage Local Government to extend their provision, the ASC and the National Office of Local Government (NOLG) is offering matched funding to a small number of Local Government providers prepared to initiate or extend schemes for older Australians.

Councils are required to match ASC funds with cash or by the provision of free facilities, instructor staff, transport schemes, specialised training or promotional material. ASC and NOLG will provide three grants of $10,000. Local Government provision can be an extension of current schemes, replication of a good practice initiative being run elsewhere or a completely innovative project.

The process of selection will be competitive and therefore those Councils that can demonstrate an existing commitment and a willingness to commit their own resources to providing opportunities for their older residents to enjoy active lives are more likely to be successful.

To discuss project criteria and to obtain an application form, please contact:
Jeff Dry
PO Box 219
Brooklyn Park SA 5032
Tel: (08) 8416 6730
Fax: (08) 8416 6 782
email: jdry@ausport.gov.au