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COTA
COTA SA 2018 State Election Platform

COTA SA calls on politicians to attend to the basics for older South Australians

Media Release 5th February 2018

More than 633,000 South Australians are aged over 50, and they will make up more than half of the voters at the March state election - yet there seems to be little understanding of what matters to them and what they are asking for.

To address this, peak body COTA SA has finished a series of conversations and surveys with older people across South Australia and gathered from them their top asks.

Older people have nominated isolation, access to health services, affordable transport and housing stress as priorities that need to be addressed.

COTA SA Chief Executive Jane Mussared says that while South Australia is beginning to embrace ageing in principle, much remained to be done to enable older people to continue to be independent, self-sufficient and to have a real place and role in their communities.

COTA SA's 2018 State Election Platform, which outlines the problem areas and proposed solutions, calls on politicians in the lead up to the State Election to improve the quality of life for older South Australians by acting on the recommendations.

"By far one of the greatest issues among those we spoke to is the cost of living - not just rising power prices, but more generally the increase in co-payments, fees, and needing to pay for things that used to be free. This all adds up and further strains already tight budgets," Ms Mussared said.

"In addition to this, there are other pressing issues relating to access to health services, housing, transport and employment, and we're continuing to see a gulf grow in the digital inclusion particularly among older generations.

"All these issues lead to isolation and the feeling that there is very limited opportunity for older people to contribute to the community and make a difference. COTA SA's Election Platform provides 25 recommendations on how to address these issues to ensure that older South Australians remain active and valued members of our community.

"Considering that over 50s make up half of South Australia's eligible voters it is important to consider their needs when it comes to election programs and policies," she said.

Some of the recommended measures include:

  • Support models for older people needing to travel to specialist health services
  • Funding of a one-stop housing support service for older people
  • Improved transport options for people without access to private transport, both within and between local communities and suburbs
  • Free WiFi and comprehensive digital literacy training
  • Work with businesses to encourage the provision of hard copy bills or statements free of charge for those without access to digital resources
  • Improvements to the age-friendliness of outdoor spaces, public buildings and public transport
  • Change the electricity concession from flat rate to percentage of electricity use in the household
  • Collaboration with other states and territories to establish a national framework on elder abuse

"The measures we have developed are in direct response to the concerns raised by the community, and need to be implemented to reduce financial pressures, isolation, elder abuse and age discrimination," Ms Mussared said.

"It's important to understand that the issues outlined don't exist in isolation. Access to transport, for example, is not just a matter of convenience, it links people to others in the community allowing them to stay socially active, brings them to specialist health appointments and connects them to cultural events - but it needs to be affordable and easy to use.

"Isolation amongst older people is caused by many different factors, including lack of suitable community programs, accessibility of public spaces and infrastructure, financial pressures and low digital literacy - all matters that need to be addressed urgently to allow older South Australians to remain active in their communities and maintain a sense of belonging."

Access to COTA SA's 2018 Election Platform, which outlines all 25 recommendations in detail, can be accessed here: https://www.cotasa.org.au/sep.

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

Download a copy of the media release