COTA SA welcomes new Liberal Government

Media Release 19th March 2018

COTA SA, the peak advocacy body for older people in South Australia, welcomes the new Liberal Government in South Australia.

COTA SA Chief Executive, Jane Mussared, said there were lots of reasons older South Australians should be optimistic about what a new Liberal Government promises for them.

"At the top of the list is a range of health commitments including to engage older people in the design of health services, to explore "in place" services to prevent unnecessary hospitalisation, to establish new health promotion and prevention agency Wellbeing SA, to increase palliative care services and to create new services for older people with severe mental health conditions," said Ms Mussared.

She also highlighted that the new Liberal Government had won a big tick from COTA SA in its election scorecard last week with its commitment to engage older people in co-designing health services.

"As users of the services, older people have been frustrated that their ideas and feedback have not been used to improve the experience of health services in SA in terms of information, support, cost, access and service design. We look forward to working with the new Government to set up a fresh approach to co-design, using the resources and wisdom of older South Australians side by side with clinicians and service providers.

"We are also thrilled that our own Strength for Life program, tailor made for older people including reducing falls risks as we age, will receive an increase of $400,000 over four years to extend its reach across SA."

The Liberal Government's support to improve the legislative protections and services available for people experiencing elder abuse was another area of importance for COTA SA.

"We look forward to elder protection being an immediate priority for the new Government. There will be crucial upper house support to act to stop elder abuse," Ms Mussared said.

There are some areas of the Liberal Party's policy that, while promising, need clarification - including supporting more affordable and better transport options for older people moving around their communities, enabling them to continue playing an active role.

"Older people, particularly those opting not to use a car, are stymied by poor options and high costs which get in the way of their continuing to contribute as volunteers and grandparents, for example. We are interested in hearing about more detailed approaches to address the issue in due course."

Ms Mussared will seek an early discussion with the appropriate new Ministers, once appointed, to ensure there is also an adequate focus on two areas that need urgent attention - housing and employment.

"Almost 5000 people aged over 65 are in housing stress now and at immediate risk of homelessness - and this number grows every day. Prevention programs are key here, not only to protect older people from the mental and financial stress, but they are also more budget effective than crisis response programs.

"From an employment perspective we are very worried that without concrete action, older people, particularly those seeking work in low skill jobs, will find it impossible to break through an invisible but devastating age barrier to work."

COTA SA's 2018 State Election Platform, released on 6 February, was a blueprint for supporting the ambitions and needs of older South Australians in health, housing, transport, digital inclusion, employment, diversity, cost of living, elder protection and ageism. The Platform included 25 policy priorities and was compiled from conversations and surveys undertaken with older South Australians in 2017.

COTA SA is an older people's movement run by, for and with older people. COTA SA represents the aspirations, interests and rights of 633,000 older South Australians.

Further information about COTA SA can be found at www.cotasa.org.au.

For all interview requests please contact:

Silvia Knoppien - sknoppien@communikate.net.au | 0467 043 173
Bec Tape - rtape@communikate.net.au | 0438 806 983

Download a copy of the media release