Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to attend today’s Chinese Australian Services Society Charity Concert 2012 Press Conference which focuses on raising funds for its Residential Aged Care Facility in Campsie.
I would like to pass on Minister Victor Dominello’s apologies, as well as his warm regards to the Chinese Australian Services Society members, members of the press, and the Chinese community in NSW.
I congratulate everyone involved in CASS as they continue to work tirelessly in providing a wide range of services within our community.
Australia wide, the rapidly ageing population has been identified as one of the most significant demographic challenges facing the country. This demands a whole of government approach to ensure that the needs of all Australians can be comprehensively met as they age.
Abraham J. Heschel, Jewish theologian and philosopher, has been quoted as saying “A test of a people is how it behaves towards the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”
Elderly migrants from East Asian countries including China, Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia, many of whom have limited English, are particularly anxious about finding suitable aged care services to cater for their needs.
The Chinese Australian Services Society Ltd (CASS), an organisation dedicated to serving the community since 1981, has been catering for the needs of the ageing community for more than a decade through its service arm, CASS Care Ltd, providing community care and centre-based respite care services.
CASS has envisioned that the need for residential aged care will soar, and has therefore been planning since 2000 to provide this service with the gradual acquisition of properties in Campsie, a suburb at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a region with very diverse cultures, fascinating history and bustling cosmopolitan flavour.
The proposed CASS Aged Care Hostel will serve frail aged people of East Asian background, providing culturally and linguistically appropriate care and services, including meals, programs and activities. This is a huge undertaking which will greatly benefit the community of Campsie and the surrounding area.
The NSW Government is committed to our State’s older people being able to live in a society that has positive attitudes to ageing.
The O’Farrell Government is also committed to researching, facilitating and supporting projects that increase services and provide support to our ageing population.
Older people from culturally diverse backgrounds are at risk of isolation, withdrawal, depression and poor outcomes. Access to culturally appropriate services and care goes a long way to remedying this.
The NSW Government and community organisations like the Chinese Australian Service Society are doing their best to close this gap and assist their older people feel more connected with family, friends and the community. In turn, these social interactions and community connections promote positive mental health and well being.
I acknowledge the strong spirit of volunteering and giving that is evident amongst the many members of the Chinese Australian Services Society. Volunteers are at the heart of everything in our society. The important link between community harmony and volunteering has been outlined in the NSW Government’s State plan, which places great importance on increased participation by members of migrant communities in public life.
I commend the Chinese Australian Services Society for providing much needed culturally specific aged care facilities and services to the elderly of East Asian background. It is a clear example of the compassionate spirit our Australian Chinese community are renowned for and one all citizens of NSW can learn from.
I look forward to seeing the realization of the current plans, and your continued success in the future.