Taking action to protect seniors from financial abuse
OLDER Queenslanders will have greater financial protection as the Palaszczuk Government takes action on an inquiry into the financial risks and concerns faced by seniors.
Seniors Minister Coralee O'Rourke said a Parliamentary Inquiry into the adequacy of existing financial protections for Queensland seniors had made 43 recommendations to protect older Queenslanders from serious financial mismanagement, exploitation or abuse, and the Government was responding.
"Sadly, older people can be vulnerable to financial abuse, with 1377 reported cases of elder abuse in Queensland last year - and many of these coming from a family member," Mrs O'Rourke said.
"With older people working and living longer, it's vital they know how to better protect themselves against financial risks," she said.
"This inquiry has played a vital role in identifying the challenges older people face.
"I'm pleased we've already taken action on a number of the recommendations, including consultation for a seniors' strategy, appointing a taskforce to look at residential options for seniors, supporting seniors with computer literacy and technology, and promoting education and awareness of elder abuse."
The Palaszczuk Government supports or supports in principle 41 of the 43 recommendations.
Two recommendations were not supported by the Government, because one relates to Federal Government responsibilities and the other would duplicate powers already in place in Queensland.
Minister O'Rourke welcomed news last week that the Australian Law Reform Commission would conduct an inquiry into laws and frameworks to safeguard older Australians from abuse.
"The Palaszczuk Government is committed to helping seniors make informed financial choices, and we support the Federal Government's recognition of this important issue," she said.
"Through our response to the inquiry we will help older Queenslanders access the right tools and support so they can protect themselves financially.
"We are looking at new and better ways to provide financial protection to vulnerable older people so they can live actively and happily in their later years."
The government has carefully considered the recommendations and committed to:
- developing a whole of government strategy for seniors
- exploring options to formalise family agreements
- developing a housing strategy which encourages affordable and accessible housing options to support seniors to live safe and independently
- developing financial resilience and inclusion strategies including credit and insurance needs
- improving pathways to link older Queenslanders with safe, affordable, alternative financial service products supporting seniors to engage with computer and internet technologies, and
- developing a program that promotes awareness of elder abuse and powers of attorney.