Draft strategic plan overview

As Australia’s population ages and longevity increases, our role in supporting and empowering older Melburnians evolves.

Older people make a significant contribution to the fabric of Melbourne by contributing to the economy in numerous ways including workforce participation, providing assistance and care through volunteering contributions and participating in civic life within local neighbourhoods.

We are developing the Melbourne: A Great Place to Age strategic plan to create a more connected community that brings people together in their local neighbourhoods, and ensures older people are supported to fully participate and feel valued and respected for their unique life experience.

The Melbourne: A Great Place to Age draft strategic plan identifies 16 priority areas that align with the domains of the internationally recognised World Health Organization (WHO) Age Friendly Cities framework. The strategic plan will also contribute to the Future Melbourne 2026 goals.

Current state

The City of Melbourne currently provides a range of activities, community infrastructure and facilities to support residents, workers and visitors, as well as services to support older people in their own homes and local community:
  • Information: Links to services, activities and events.
  • Care: Community care and social support services funded by the Australian Government’s Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages program.
  • Program delivery: Events and activities to celebrate and build inclusion including the Victorian Seniors Festival, the Coming Back Out Ball, and neighbourhood centre and carer support programs.
  • Resources: Community grants and other support for community groups.

How we provide services, activities, and community infrastructure will need to change if we are to remain a safe, accessible and ‘age friendly’ city. This is due to unprecedented population, infrastructure and housing growth in the city of Melbourne, longer life expectancy, a more informed rights-based community, and the impact of substantial Australian Government reform.

The Australian Government reforms aim to create a single, consistent national system of aged care based on a consumer-driven market model that is affordable and sustainable with a focus on promoting wellness and independence. The reforms aim to address increasing demand from an ageing population, increasing diversity among older Australians in their preferences and expectations, increasing complexity of needs associated with longevity, increasing costs to meet needs, and a growing workforce need to address a decline in the relative availability of informal carers.

Significant contributions of older people

Here's an overview of the significant contributions of our older Melburnian community:


Approximately one-quarter of national and international visitors are aged 55 years and over.

Workforce participation

Workforce participation

At least 30% of residents aged 60 and over in the municipality are engaged in the workforce.



One in five residents aged 60 and over volunteer.

Caring responsibilities

Caring responsibilities

Older people play an important role as informal carers with 12% of residents aged 60 and over providing unpaid assistance to others.

Our vision

Melbourne is internationally recognised as a great place to age.

Its purpose

  • Challenge ageism and pay true respect to Aboriginal Elders and all older people.
  • Enable older people to contribute to deliberative democracy and have a genuine say in how resources are spent.
  • Recognise and utilise older people’s knowledge, wisdom and diverse life experience.
  • Design, develop and support services, activities and community infrastructure that embrace ageing.


We will apply the following principles to achieve the outcomes:

The City of Melbourne will focus on community engagement and place-based approaches to improve the health and wellbeing of older people in their local communities.
  • Primary prevention

    Through information, health promotion, linkage, advocacy and system navigation to address loneliness, racism, elder abuse, life transitions and end of life.

  • Precinct and place-based approaches

    Through planning, advocacy and delivery of local solutions with community.

  • Genuine ongoing engagement

    Through listening, learning, volunteering, employment, technology and innovation.

  • ​Community development and partnerships

    With community, service systems, government and industry, to support network and market development.


There are seven key priority areas of focus for community input:

We have identified 16 priorities for the draft strategic plan based on a demographic analysis, policy scan and literature review. We are seeking community input on these priorities and in particular seven key social priorities.

Over 40 per cent of Australians aged 65 and over have experienced age-related discrimination (Australian Human Rights Commission 2013).

Melbourne: A Great Place to Age will challenge stereotypes and discrimination based solely upon age. We recognise and value older people as knowledge leaders and experts.

The prevalence of dementia in the city of Melbourne is predicted to rise from approximately 970 people to almost 5,800 people by 2050 (Dementia Australia 2017).

Melbourne: A Great Place to Age aims for Melbourne to be a dementia-friendly city where people living with dementia are supported to have a high quality of life with meaning, purpose and value.

The prevalence of elder abuse is estimated to be up to 10 per cent, encompassing physical, financial, emotional, social and sexual abuse, and neglect (University of Melbourne and National Ageing Research Institute 2017).

Melbourne: A Great Place to Age will take action to prevent, detect and address elder abuse to protect the rights of older people.

Several issues have been identified for people at end of life including:

  • social isolation
  • social stigma
  • social rejection
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • family breakdown
  • premature job loss
  • financial strain
  • spiritual dilemmas or crises (Kellehear 2013).

Melbourne: A Great Place to Age will raise awareness of these end of life issues and will facilitate community-based support for people at end of life and their families and carers.

Social roles that provide personal value and belonging can diminish with life transitions (Commissioner for Senior Victorians 2016).

Key transitions include:

  • retirement
  • onset of health conditions
  • becoming a carer
  • loss of driver licence
  • loss of a partner
  • entry of a partner into aged care
  • transition to living alone
  • relocation

  • Melbourne: A Great Place to Age will provide information and support to respond key life transition points.

    An estimated 10 per cent of older Victorians are impacted by social isolation and loneliness (Commissioner for Senior Victorians 2016).

    Melbourne: A Great Place to Age will focus on the needs of older people at risk of loneliness and social isolation including carers and people experiencing life transitions.

    16 per cent of Australians aged 55-64, 8 per cent aged 65-74 and 5 per cent aged 75 and over have experienced discrimination because of their skin colour, ethnicity or religion (Scanlon Foundation 2018).

    Melbourne: A Great Place to Age will prevent and respond to racism to build a fair and inclusive city.

    Next steps

    Input collected from community consultation was compiled and used to inform the final version of the Melbourne: A Great Place to Age strategic plan. It was endorsed by Council on 23 June 2020.

    Melbourne: A Great Place to Age