More than any other social policy issue in Australia, the issue of ageing for CALD Australians is one that is not only an imperative but also one in which the data demonstrates the importance of this segment across the breadth of ageing Australia.
Older Australians make up an increasing proportion of our population. In turn, the backgrounds, lifestyle, culture, language, income levels and place of living of older Australians are growing increasingly diverse. Significantly, migrant communities are ageing at a much faster rate than the population at large. The 2011 Census indicated 20.1% of Australians 65+ were born in non-English speaking countries. On current projections, in 2020 30% of the population aged 65 years and above will be from CALD backgrounds.
The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) is the peak, national body representing CALD Australians, their groups, communities and organisations. FECCA’s role is to advocate and promote issues to government and the broader community, ensuring that the needs and aspirations of CALD Australians are given proper recognition in public policy. FECCA works to promote fairness and responsiveness in the delivery and design of government policies and programs, and to promote multiculturalism as a core value that defines what it means to be Australian in the 21st century. FECCA strongly believes that older CALD Australians should enjoy a positive life experience as they age.
Most focus on ageing issues has tended to be either from individual communities themselves or through state-wide organisations and structures. There has been a need for both national advocacy and the development of a national narrative to sit alongside to influence the development of aged care policy and practice at the Federal level.
FECCA has moved into the gap and has been involved in policy and systemic advocacy on ageing and aged care issues for older CALD Australians especially over the last six years.