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Friday, 03 July 2020
The City of Canada Bay Libraries will receive $5,000 under the Morrison Government’s Be Connected program to provide digital devices to older residents in Reid who may be experiencing loneliness.

The initiative will better connect locals with friends and family during the coronavirus pandemic and help boost IT literacy among older Australians.

With a professional background as a psychologist, Member for Reid, Dr Fiona Martin MP, is acutely aware of the health impacts of loneliness, which can especially impact Australia’s older generations.

“Loneliness is one of Australia’s biggest public health issues, even before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr Martin said.

“12.4% per cent of residents in our community are over 65, and many Australians in this age group are not always confident using digital technology,” Dr Martin said.

“These grants will help improve the online skills of older residents who are increasingly turning to the internet to access online services during the coronavirus pandemic, stay connected to the community and remain in contact with their loved ones,” Dr Martin stated.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said access to timely support as well as digital and social connections were essential to support older Australians to live independently.

“With a third of all senior Australians living alone there is a real need for this assistance to alleviate loneliness and social isolation,” Minister Ruston said.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the Government’s Be Connected program was making modern technology available to seniors for free as well as building their online skills and know-how through step-by-step training.

“These grants will help provide devices such as a laptop or tablet and data plans to older Australians who would otherwise be at risk of disconnecting,” Minister Fletcher said.

“The Be Connected program, delivered in partnership by the eSafety Commissioner and the Good Things Foundation, plays a critical role delivering digital skills workshops to older Australians helping build their confidence online as they increasingly turn to virtual services, including telehealth, during COVID-19.”

The latest investment comes on top of a new support line offering specific advice and counselling for senior Australians seeking assistance because of COVID-19.

Established in conjunction with the Council on the Ageing Australia, National Seniors Australia, the Older Persons Advocacy Network and Dementia Australia, the COVID-19 support line will operate Monday to Friday, except public holidays, from 8.30am to 6pm on 1800 171 866.

Media Contacts
Vanessa Papastavros | 02 9715 7444 |