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'You're getting older every year', COTA tells ACT Chief Minister

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Whenever Jenny Mobbs runs into Chief Minister Andrew Barr,  she reminds him he's "getting older every year".

Ms Mobbs is a public officer for COTA ACT - the peak organisation for all issues relating to older Canberra citizens.

It is a statement Ms Mobbs, who also sits on the territory government's ministerial advisory council on the ageing, repeated this week, after Mr Barr claimed most ABC 7pm news bulletin viewers were in their mid-60s.

Mr Barr also said that most Canberrans did not consume "traditional media", a likely reference to the relatively young average age of the capital's residents.

The comments were revealed on the first day of Seniors Week this week, and follow Mr Barr's vocal criticisms of Canberrans "of a certain age" raising their concerns about heritage and property development in the city in recent weeks.

Ms Mobbs said she appreciated the Chief Minister's view that communications needed to "change with the times", but noted Canberra's population was also ageing rapidly.


"And, as I always tell him when I see him, 'you're getting older every year'," she said.

"We've updated our own communications strategy these days, and looked at things like Facebook and Twitter, but there are still a lot of people who like the newspaper or the radio."

Yarralumla Residents Association president David Harvey said he also saw Mr Barr's point, but the Chief Minister's comments looked like an attempt to cut out a "certain type of [Canberran]".

While he admitted the residents' groups that had clashed with the government over developments in recent years mostly consisted of older people, not everyone objecting to developments was over 60, Mr Harvey said.

Similarly, Marea Fatseas, chairwoman of the Inner South Canberra Community Council, which has had similar debates with government, said Mr Barr had "long made it clear he was only interested in talking to younger generations".

"I would say we expect our leaders to have enough bandwidth to engage people from all demographics," she said.

"And to understand the role of journalism in protecting democracy."

ACT Council of the Aging director Ewan Brown said seniors had never enjoyed much attention from the Chief Minister, but the council was working hard to connect older Canberrans with new technologies and platforms such as social media.

"We've got a lot of people with significant experience in the public service and the community," Mr Brown said.

"We want people to live out their lives with greater fulfillment, which means garnering respect from everyone."