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COTA (NSW) (Member of COTA Over 50s) C- Council on the Ageing


COTA (NSW) (Member of COTA Over 50s) C- Council on the Ageing

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Thursday, 24 September, 2006


Golden Jubilee 2006-2007
COTA (NSW) is celebrating its Golden Jubilee (50th Anniversary) with a Luncheon for over 400
people in the Town Hall on September 15. The Lord Mayor, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly,
Leader of the NSW Opposition, Shadow Minister for Ageing, corporate leaders and senior
representatives of the Department of Ageing, Disability and Homecare will attend.

The Event is being sponsored by the Over Fifty Group (major sponsor), the NRMA, Alphapharm, The
Senior, The Public Trustee and Centrelink. While all attendees have contributed, the sponsorship has
enabled 300 seniors and their organisations to participate. “It is the largest gathering of seniors
organisations since the International Year of Older Persons in 1999”, says Executive Director, Neil

The Event is being held in the Town Hall to mark COTA’s foundation. It occurs at a time when the
NSW Treasurer has declared the ageing population of NSW as a major economic issue. The President
of COTA NSW, Kath Brewster, says “The Jubilee Lunch shows the enormous contribution of older
people in NSW to social capital and people welfare. When we speak in ageist terms of the threat they
represent, we overlook their amazing value in volunteering, child care, and social connection.”

Seniors organisations attending include the Association of Independent Retirees, Over 50s, Australian
Computer Clubs, Older Men:New Ideas, Co. As. It, Ashfield Polish Citizens, Combined Pensioners,
Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, indigenous grandparents.

Services to seniors include Meals on Wheels, Carers, War Widows Guild, Canterbury Earlwood
Caring Association, Uniting Care Ageing.

COTA (NSW) was established in 1956 as a joint initiative of Sydney City Council, Sydney Rotary and
the NSW Council of Social Service. It was originally called “The Older People’s Welfare Council”.

The services that COTA has initiated are better known than COTA itself. They include Carers, Meals
on Wheels, Volunteering, Seniors Clubs, Retirement Villages, Seniors Week, Senior Citizen Awards.

The Jubilee Year started with TechnoSeniors in Seniors Week in March. It concludes with Seniors
Week 2007. Other events will be held around NSW in association with Seniors organisations, local
councils and community groups.

COTA NSW is a founding member of national COTA Over 50s, which presents social policy positions
to the Australian government. The members of the National Policy Council represent all states and
territories in Australia.

Journalists are invited to visit the Luncheon, where sandwiches and refreshment are available.
An Information booklet and DVD are available from the COTA office in Pitt Street, contact 02
9286 3860, or email info For further background information, see below or
visit the website: www.
Contact person about the Luncheon is Neil Tucker, 9286 3860 or ah 9985 1013.

                              COTA (NSW)
                        (Member of COTA Over 50s)
C/- Council on the Ageing, NSW, Level 4, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
                  Phone: 02 9286 3860, Fax 02 9286 3872
"What is COTA (NSW)?" "What does it do?"
COTA (NSW) is "Council on the Ageing', a peak body, a community association, a not-for-profit
organisation that 'serves the interests of all older people', especially those experiencing disadvantage of
any kind - health, finance, work, accommodation, protection, region, language background.

COTA's business is social policy and information, but it also offers membership and community
programs to individual older people, to organisations and the public at large.

COTA (NSW) has helped start:
Meals on Wheels Association (NSW)
Carers (NSW)
Volunteering (NSW)
Retirement Villages Association and Retirement Villages Residents Association
Seniors Week and Senior Citizens Awards
Seniors Clubs and Centres
None of these existed until the late 1950's and early 1960's.

In recent years COTA (NSW) has established:
Seniors Information Service (13.12.44)
OM:NI (Older Men: New Ideas) groups
Grandparents raising grandchildren groups
COTA Computing Club
Medication Management Project
Mature Employment Line (NSW and potentially nationally)
Living Longer: Living Stronger exercise program
"Working Connections" in NSW, in partnership with Over 50's Association
Retirement publications and "Mastering My Mature Life" seminars
Healthy ageing talks
Photo ID for seniors


                                 COTA (NSW) Mission Statement:
          The Council’s mission is to promote and protect the interests and well-being of all
                older people, particularly those experiencing relative disadvantage.

COTA (NSW) was established as the peak body on behalf of all older people in NSW, particularly
those experiencing relative disadvantage. It was established in the environment of an Australia
emerging prosperously from the depression and World War Two, where older people from Anglo
Celtic and other European backgrounds were growing in numbers and in need of specific social
services appropriate to them.

The Superannuated Commonwealth Officers’ Association had been established in 1922, CPSA
[Combined Pensioners & Superannuants Association], celebrating its 75th year in 2006, had been
established in 1931. Other organisations of seniors have also been established over the past 50 years:
Australian Retired Pensioners Association (ARPA Over 50s) in 1954, National Seniors Association
(NSA) in 1976, National Retirement Association (NRA) in 1985, The Older Women’s Network
(OWN) in 1987, The Association of Independent Retirees (AIR) in 1990.

Like these other organisations, COTA has individual members, but individuals were not received as
members until 1981. COTA was originally structured as a peak body, to accept organisational
members, and to exercise a collaborative, integrative role such that the voices of all older people in
NSW are represented fairly and objectively. COTA (NSW) has nearly 300 seniors organisation

As recently as 1999, COTA convened the NSW celebration of the IYOP (International Year of Older
Persons), bringing together all seniors’ organisations in NSW.

                              COTA (NSW)
                        (Member of COTA Over 50s)
C/- Council on the Ageing, NSW, Level 4, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
                  Phone: 02 9286 3860, Fax 02 9286 3872
What then is COTA’s core business? It is to develop social policy, which it advocates to governments
in NSW, to agencies dealing with older people, to the media, and to the public at large. Its other central
function is to provide information services on anything and everything to do with being older in
Australia today.

In its distinguished history, COTA (NSW) has not only advocated social policy, and provided
information, but commenced many initiatives in social programs and services to older people and
managed them until they have become independent in their own right.

COTA’s current leading edge programs include the well–being of older men, grandparents raising
grandchildren, older persons’ access to exercise and strength training programs, mature employment,
access to IT learning, medications management and quality use of medicines, retirement and ‘third
age’ planning.

An essential aspect of COTA’s responsibility to older persons in NSW, is that it is part of a national
network of cognate organisations. The quality of life of older people in NSW is affected not only by
NSW State and local governments, but by decisions of the Australian government. For 42 years,
COTA (NSW) was a member of the former COTA (Australia) until 2004 when that entity was
transformed to the ownership of other members. COTA (NSW) has undertaken a major role in the
establishment in 2005 of COTA Over 50s Ltd, in national collaboration with Over 50s Association.
Over Fifty Group is the major sponsor of the COTA (NSW) Golden Jubilee Year.

In 2006 we live in a national and state political environment where there is trumpeted awareness of an ‘ageing
Australia’ and its potential future burden of institutional aged care and increased ‘at home’ services. Working
until 70 years and beyond is a national political mantra, which however is not yet supported by employers at
large. Older volunteers provide the largest share of the carer workforce. Issues affecting the well being of
indigenous Australians, those in poverty, those suffering mental and dental health needs are largely unresolved.

COTA (NSW) believes there are major changes in the attitudes and provisions of state and national
governments toward dental health, mental health, men’s health, voluntary carers, and mature
employment where community practice, and the funding of governments to providers needs to
coincide with the political mantra and declared policy.

Moreover, it needs to be recognised that when a third of the voting public is aged over 50, it is not only
the issues of retirement incomes, employment, health and aged care which will matter to these voters,
it is the whole raft of the quality of life in NSW. Water, transport, energy, safety, family well being,
school education also affect all older people in various ways.

COTA (NSW) anticipates keenly the next 20 years, and the next 50 years in NSW. COTA’s voice and
national advocacy has a burgeoning 21st Century marketplace – more complex but just as needy as that
which pertained in 1956.

What is COTA Over 50s?

What is COTA Over 50s and what does it do?
In March 2005 five not-for-profit seniors organisations agreed to form a new national community
organisation for seniors. It arose to replace and extend the former COTA Australia, which had been
closed. Board membership comprises representatives of four State based parties – Councils on the
Ageing in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, and Western Australia – and the national organisation ARPA
Over 50s Association. COTA Over 50s was launched by the then Minister for Ageing, the Hon Julie
Bishop, in October 2005. It has instituted a National Policy Council which includes the COTAs from S
Australia, Queensland, the ACT and the Northern Territory. COTA Over 50s national policy
secretariat will be located in Canberra.

Collectively having nearly 1,000 organisational members throughout Australia, COTA Over 50s
represents a total of some half a million (500,000) older Australians

COTA Over 50’s prime objective is to promote, improve and protect the circumstances and well being
of all older Australians, not just its members, particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged. Its work
                              COTA (NSW)
                        (Member of COTA Over 50s)
C/- Council on the Ageing, NSW, Level 4, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
                  Phone: 02 9286 3860, Fax 02 9286 3872
draws on the view of today’s seniors and on concerns for future generations of Australian citizens of
all ages.

In particular COTA Over 50s:
           Develops and formulates policies and policy positions
           Promotes active ageing and a positive image of ageing
           Co-ordinates information dissemination and resource development
           Advocates on behalf of all seniors
           Provides assistance to seniors who seek re-employment
           Collects, interprets and disseminates information to interested individuals and

In 2006 it is looking to produce national papers in the areas of:
          Aged Care
          Housing - with respect to older people
          Elder Abuse

It will also be looking closely at developing key strategies and positions in relation to:
            Active Ageing
            Mental Health in older people
            Retirement Incomes (Age Pensions; Savings; Superannuation)
            Dental Care
            Older Indigenous Health
            Grandparents raising grandchildren

Each member of COTA Over 50s already offers a range of innovative programs and services to older people and
the community —such as Living Longer Living Stronger; Medication Management Program; Older Men: New
Ideas; Working Connections; Computer Club; Grandparenting; Healthy Ageing Talks—within their particular
state. Whilst maintaining their own identity and status in their current areas, the members are also progressively
determining what activities, in addition to national policy and advocacy, would be most efficiently and
beneficially carried out jointly at a national level. They are committed to developing partnerships in the areas of
national policies, programs, communications, membership and member services.

             Further information contact Gayle Richards – National Policy Executive
           (02) 9286 3860 - Mobile: 0403 190 759 - Email:

                              COTA (NSW)
                        (Member of COTA Over 50s)
C/- Council on the Ageing, NSW, Level 4, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
                  Phone: 02 9286 3860, Fax 02 9286 3872

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