Having a say and addressing serious issues impacting older people on COTA SA’s budget wish list

Media Release 20th June 2017

This week's State Budget should prioritise opportunities for 590,000-plus older South Australians to be influential in positioning SA as a showcase of modern ageing, says peak body COTA SA.

COTA SA CEO Jane Mussared says along with building capacity for older people to contribute directly to design, services and technology including through an ‘ageing well' focused living labs movement, the budget should also contain a strong focus on addressing the serious and recurring barriers growing numbers of older people experience, including elder abuse, workplace discrimination and rising living costs.

"These three key issues are having a direct and significant impact on the South Australian community every day," Ms Mussared said.

"News that the average household is facing a double digit increase in electricity tariffs once again this year; the distressing treatment of older people including in government care; and the increasing evidence of older workers being excluded from employment are all impacting on the opportunity for older people to participate and contribute meaningfully to our community."

Ms Mussared says with one in four South Australians predicted to be aged 65+ by 2031, it's vital the State Government recognises that older people are central to the economic and social future of our state.

"From an employment perspective, a growing number of older people are finding it tougher than ever before. A recent report indicated that between one quarter and one third of older workers have experienced discrimination on the job. It's not good enough, especially if the Federal Government pushes eligibility for the Age Pension out to age 70," she said.

"We don't deserve to be relegated to the back seat as we age. Instead, older people should be able to make their own decisions and drive change as it relates to their future, taking part in the community side-by-side with other generations."

COTA SA's State Budget submission contained 23 key recommendations, including:

  • Living Labs - Funding for COTA SA to create an active community of influencers to develop products and services that support modern ageing as part of a Living Laboratory Network. 
  • Elder protection - A commitment to legislative reform and services that enables a consistent, coordinated response to prevent and respond to the abuse and harm of older people in vulnerable situations, and developing a national framework based on human rights principles.
  • Employment - Initiatives to tackle workplace age discrimination and support career planning, up-skilling and retraining for older workers.
  • Cost of power - Address the rising cost of living by installing solar panels in all social housing and offer incentives and direct funding to those on low incomes to install solar panels.
  • Housing - Investigate and fund new models of accessible and affordable housing, particularly for older women, and fund a trial housing support service for older people.

COTA SA is an older people's movement run by, for and with older people. COTA SA represents the aspirations, interests and rights of 590,000 older South Australians, with 17,000 individual members and 250 organisation members. In 2017 COTA SA turns 60.

For all interview requests with CEO Jane Mussared contact:
Bec Tape - rtape@communikate.net.au | 0438 806 983

Please note: Jane Mussared is attending the interest group lock up at the Adelaide Convention Centre and will be available for comment directly after.

Download a copy of the media release

Download a copy of COTA SA's State Budget submission