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COTA life

Advancing the rights, needs and interests of Queenslanders as they age

Edition 27

12 October 2016

COTAlife a monthly E-newsletter, keeping you informed about how COTA is advancing the rights, needs and interests of people as they age and providing assistance to find services to enhance Queenslanders quality of life.

In this issue
• Raging Against Ageism
• Stay Smart Online Week
• Anti-Poverty Week
• Grandparents Day
• COTA Welcomes David Tune Appointment to Aged Care Review
• My Aged Care system release: September 2016
• Peer Educators adding their perspective to the Aged Care Reforms
• Co-design in Motion
• Peer Educators trained and ready to roll!
• The cost of living and age pensioner households issue 4
• Help available to find better electricity deals for those in need
• Telstra 2G Network Closure
• New appointment for Mick Gooda
• Radio COTA Podcast - October Series
• Come gallivanting with COTA Holidays
• Reasons to choose COTA Travel Insurance


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Raging Against Ageism

COTA Queensland launched a year-long program Rage Against Ageism on 1 October to coincide with International Day of Older Persons.


In launching Rage Against Ageism, COTA Queensland’s Chief Executive Mark Tucker-Evans said 'we are asking everyone to consider ageism – the negative attitudes and discrimination based on age – and the detrimental impact it has on older people.'


'For many older people, ageism is an everyday experience. Stereotyped in the media, overlooked for employment, excluded from participating in society because of inappropriately designed services and facilities.'


'This year, we challenge everyone to identify and question these internalised ageist attitudes and to understand the serious impact of these attitudes.'


We are asking people to pledge to:
• Reject stereotypes and focus on the uniqueness of every individual
• Speak up when they hear people speaking negatively about growing old
• Have the courage to question practices they feel are disrespectful to older people
• Be patient, polite and friendly
• Have zero tolerance for abuse or neglect
• Build relationships with older people to combat isolation and loneliness.

COTA Victoria has recently launched a paper 'Challenging Ageism' providing an overview of ageism in Australia highlighting examples (use of language in the media, elder abuse and workplace discrimination), advice on how to stop it, and further resources.


You can access the paper by clicking here.


For further information about the Rage Against Ageism Campaign and to pledge your support go to or contact 1300 738 348.


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It's Stay Smart Online Week 

Stay Smart Online Week commenced on Monday 10 October and will run until Friday 14 October.

Each year, through Stay Smart Online Week, the Australian Government works in collaboration with other agencies, industry, small business operators and community groups to raise awareness about the ways people can protect themselves online.


This year's theme is cyber safety from the lounge room to the board room, focusing on how individuals' online behaviours in their personal life can impact their workplace, and how organisations can engage with their employees on online security awareness.


The Australian Government's Stay Smart Online initiative has developed a range of short Guides to help individuals and businesses put in place some basic online security habits.


Each Guide includes simple and practical information about how to protect our online activities, whether at home, work, school or on the go.


The Guides have been developed in collaboration with the New Zealand Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet along with partners Australia Post, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, NBN, Westpac and Telstra.


For more information and to access the guide click here. 


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Poverty and severe hardship affect more than a million Australians. 


Around the world more than a billion people are desperately poor.

The main aims of Anti-Poverty Week are to:
•  strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of
poverty and hardship around the world and within Australia;
•  encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.

Last year, at least 600 organisations around Australia participated in more than 400 activities during the Week, with a total participation of more than 10,000 people.
> Why not organise a display, stall or award?
> Maybe a workshop, lecture or forum?

> How about a fundraiser, fact sheet or petition?


For information and ideas, visit, or email or call 1300 797 290.


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'Discover your grandparents’ stories — their history is your history’

Grandparents Day is a chance for children and the community to thank grandparents for their love and support.


This special day is an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and devotion of grandparents in their many roles of caring and supporting their grandchildren. It is also an occasion to recognise the important role grandparents play in our society through their wisdom, skills and experience.


View the list of special offers for Seniors Business Discount Card holders and make a date to celebrate Grandparents Day.


All grandparents have a story to share about their life and experience.


Discover your grandparents’ stories — their history is your history.

You can download a range of resources to celebrate Grandparents Day 2016.


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COTA Welcomes David Tune Appointment to Aged Care Review

COTA has welcomed the appointment of David Tune AO PSM to lead the Aged Care Legislated Review.

Ian Yates, Chief Executive of Australia's leading seniors' organisation, COTA Australia, said: "The timely commencement of this Review is boosted further by the appointment of Mr David Tune as very good choice to lead it.

"An essential component of the 2012 Living Longer Living Better changes was this compulsory review in 2016-17. Its timely delivery is critical to addressing the significant challenges facing the sector.

"Mr Tune has chaired the Aged Care Sector Committee during the development of the Aged Care Roadmap by that Committee and is well placed to ensure the Review takes fully into account the opportunities that the Roadmap represents.

"The Legislated Review is a vital step in the aged care reform process, providing the opportunity to advance a new framework for consumer driven, market based, financially sustainable, and also looking at the finer detail of the reform implementation to ensure that all consumers receive quality aged care on an equitable basis.

"COTA looks forward to working closely with the Review as it develops recommendations that both Government and Opposition need to take seriously and act upon in a bipartisan manner to ensure the future of aged care as the number of older Australians grows substantially over coming years."


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My Aged Care system release:  September 2016

The My Aged Care system release has occurred with the changes that came into effect on the 12th of  September 2016. These changes will build on improvements to the My Aged Care system since 1 July 2015 to continue to enhance the useability of the system.

To assist service providers and assessors to understand the changes, a Summary of My Aged Care System Changes is now available.

The key changes to the system will focus on enhancements to:
Assessor and service provider portals, including:
• ability to view reason for rejecting a referral
• preventing concurrent screenings and assessments
• improved process for requesting reviews for and making changes to support plans
• ability to revoke a referral after acceptance
• ability to edit and remove service provider preferences
• improved search functionality within portals
Assessment process and functionality, including:


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Peer Educators adding their perspective to the Aged Care Reforms

COTA Queensland Peer Educators have been actively contributing to the Aged Care Reforms at both a community and system level.  Peer Educators delivered 104 information sessions to over 2000 older people face-to-face in Queensland in the last financial year through the Controlling My Own Life: Making the most of CDC topic. These sessions inform participants on how to access aged care, the consumer directed care approach and the programs available, in particular Home Care Packages. The collection and recording of stories and experiences shared by participants at these sessions inform COTA’s policy and advocacy work and are a vital aspect of the program.

A number of the Peer Educators have also directly contributed to system and service development during September, sharing their findings from the sessions and from listening to older people in the community.    Peer Educator Libby Knight co-presented with Program Coordinator Bronwyn Bidstrup, alongside the Department of Health and the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, on the topic of Consumer Directed Care at the Community Care Support Network on the Sunshine Coast on 7 September. The audience consisted of 75 service providers, health professionals and government representatives. Libby confirmed that the changes and information relating to aged care is complex for a person trying to access the system.  Libby referred to her experience as a ‘teacher of teachers’, noting that every sector has it’s particular ‘language’, and a role of the Peer Educator is to share this information with older people in an accessible language and format.  82.5% of forum participants reported they found the COTA Queensland session highly and very useful.


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Co-design in Motion

COTA Queensland volunteer, Bryan Spiller, has been an active participant over recent months in the COTA Australia Consumer Engagement in Aged Care project.  Project Officers have been talking with people across Australia about their experiences of accessing and receiving aged care.  Bryan contributed to the second round of these consultations in Brisbane in June this year.  

Bryan was then invited to participate in national co-design workshops during September.  The aim of these workshops was for people representing carers, care recipients and service providers to sit around the table together and develop solutions to the range of issues identified in the earlier stages of the project.   These issues and solutions were then prioritised and as a result, three projects are currently being co-produced and trialled by teams consisting of carers, care recipients and service providers in Newcastle, Melbourne and Hobart.

Bryan commented that participation in this project was an interesting experience for him; particularly moving through the transition from problem identification into solutions generation.  We thank Bryan for his ongoing contribution to and support of COTA activities.


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Peer Educators trained and ready to roll!

COTA Peer Educators are now trained to deliver a new information session topic and ready to start sharing it with their communities. The new information session titled Your Wellbeing, Your Plan is a new, free interactive information session for older Queenslanders. The session will include discussion of the possibilities and advantages of staying well as you aged and options for increasing your wellbeing, including accessing aged care services if need be. Peer Educators are able to deliver sessions for seniors groups and aged care providers in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Gold Coast, Logan, South Burnett, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba from September 2016 to June 2017.

Invite a COTA Peer Educator to speak with your group for a free, one hour interactive session by downloading the booking request form by clicking from here and emailing it to

For more information download a promotional flyer by clicking here, call 1300 738 348 or email us at

This is a part of the Step Forward-Together project. Step Forward-Together is a COTA and CommunityWest Inc. project funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to support both aged care service providers and older people to co-produce aged care service models that promote wellness and enablement.



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The cost of living and age pensioner households issue 4

Queensland couples who rely on the age pension and rent in the private market are at the greatest risk of living in poverty compared to other seniors, according to the Queensland Council of Social Service's (QCOSS) latest Cost of Living Report. 

QCOSS’ fourth Cost of Living Report – Special Edition: The cost of living and age pensioner households was released as part of the Queensland Government’s Seniors Week, and draws attention to one of the biggest issues facing ageing Queenslanders today.

State and federal governments assist age pensioners by providing base pensions and allowances and through delivering a range of targeted rebates, concessions and subsidies.


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Help available to find better electricity deals for those in need

Vulnerable electricity consumers in South-East Queensland now have access to a range of assistance programs to help them to shop around and save on their electricity bill thanks to funding from electricity retailer AGL.

Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said that as part of the transition to a deregulated retail electricity price market in South-East Queensland, electricity retailer AGL has provided $500,000 of funding through its Switched On Communities program to eight organisations, including COTA Queensland, to support vulnerable consumers to get a better electricity deal. 

“Lower income households spend proportionately more of their day to day living expenses on essential requirements such as electricity, so the benefit of better deals and financial savings will potentially have a greater impact for them,” Mr Bailey said.

“The support programs will reach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, seniors, people with a disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people facing financial hardship, as well as people not yet fully engaged in South-East Queensland’s energy market.


AGL’s Head of Government & Community Relations Tony Chappel said AGL has a long-standing commitment to supporting communities.

“This financial commitment is about helping consumers to get the most out of the retail electricity reforms, and AGL remains committed to improving accessibility of support information for customers and in ensuring that vulnerable groups are protected,” Mr Chappel said.

“Energy affordability is a major challenge for the community, and we recognise that industry has an important role to play in working with governments and community groups to deliver effective support for energy consumers.”

Chief Executive Mark Tucker-Evans said the cost of electricity bills can be a challenge for seniors, particularly pensioners and retirees.

“COTA Queensland will use the grant funding to facilitate education programs across South-East Queensland to ensure seniors had access to information to find the best electricity deal,” Mr Tucker-Evans said.

“Making sure you’re on the best and most affordable plan for your home can lead to very important household savings.

“We look forward to supporting our seniors network to help the Queensland Government spread the ‘how to shop around for electricity deals’ message.”

COTA Queensland is currently developing the Switched on Communities Peer Education program with our Peer Educators to be delivered to seniors groups.


If you would like to register your interest in hosting a Switched on Communities information session please email or phone 1300 738 348.


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Telstra 2G Network Closure

The Telstra 2G mobile network is closing on 1 December 2016. This means that customers who are connected to 2G will no longer be able to make or receive phone calls on their mobile phone. Customers will know if they’re currently using the 2G network as they will have a 2G icon at the top of their phone screen. It’s important that 2G customers understand what they need to do to switch to 3G or 4G services before 1 December 2016. Making the switch is easy and service providers are here to help. If a customer is connected to 2G we encourage them to visit a Telstra store or contact their service provider as soon as possible to avoid any disruption to their service. For more information please visit


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New appointment for Mick Gooda

Mick Gooda has resigned from his role as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, to take up his appointment as one of two Commissioners at the Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory.

We were honored to have interviewed Mr. Gooda for our special edition of Radio COTA celebrating NAIDOC Week.

To listen to this interview on Soundcloud click here

President Gillian Triggs has been appointed as the Acting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner for three months while a selection process is undertaken to fill the position.

The Commission is pleased to announce Wiradjuri lawyer Robynne Quiggin will assist the President as Deputy Commissioner during this interim period. Robynne has worked at the Commission previously and was most recently senior advisor to Mick Gooda.


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Welcome to the Radio COTA Podcast - October Series!

Focusing on topical and relevant information for older Queenslanders

Tune in weekly to listen to Radio COTA’s Podcast!  A Podcast is an “on demand” radio style show accessible from your computer, smart phone, or tablet.


This month we are exploring:


Podcast #26 - Now Live - Seniors and Travel, with a special interview from Aussie travellers, Bob and Marie Hull who share some adventure-filled stories, and provide a few tips and tricks for travelling in Australia.

We also have a chat with The Grey Nomads, and travel industry reps will whet your appetite with some glorious locations to cruise!   Podcast #26 has an additional piece with a special interview with Suzanne Rose, Executive Director with the Queensland Transport and Main Roads Accessibility Reference Group.


Podcast #27 – Now Live - Music and The Arts, is one of the most exciting episodes to date!  An EXCLUSIVE  interview with Aussie Music legend – Daryl Braithwaite!  Daryl is very candid about the longevity of his career, the ups and downs of the music industry in Australia, his idea of retirement … you’ll just need to tune in to Radio COTA to hear more!  The excitement continues when you’re introduced to ‘BUMS’, yes, the ‘Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society’ play a few tunes, and of course, the regular Radio COTA News and What’s On!


Podcast #28 – Hobbies.  What hobbies come to mind when you think of older Queenslanders?  Old fashioned, stereotypical, hobbies such as knitting or bingo?  Not that there’s anything wrong with these, however, we introduce some new hobby concepts for people to explore, hobbies that were once considered for the ‘younger crowd’.   Meet with John from the Cairns Men’s Shed and Lyn from the Coast to Coast Rock’n’Rollers!  These people are inspiring and could motivate the best couch potato to get up and about in their community.  ‘Rage Against Ageism’ teaser– you’ll need to listen over the coming weeks to learn more and get involved!


Radio COTA is available on:
Sound Cloud and iTunes and the COTA Queensland website.

We look forward to your feedback at

So, put your feet up, grab a cuppa and enjoy!


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Come gallivanting with COTA Holidays

COTA now offer great holiday deals including escorted international holidays and domestic package tours specially selected for COTA members and all Australians over 50.

Holiday deal options include cruises, domestic and international travel. So many to choose from – visit the Red Centre including Uluru and Kings Canyon, or a combination cruise and 4WD tour through Australia’s magnificent Cape York Wilderness, or a cultural tour of Scandinavia, a couch tour of South New Zealand, cruise to Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico (cha cha cha!!), or explore the stunning Canadian Rockies followed by a seven night cruise through the incredible glaciers of the Alaskan Inside Passage.

There are tours of Japan, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Africa, Paris, Hawaii – even road trips across America!

With so many options to choose from, you may just have to book a few holidays at once! 

Call now on 1300 1500 50 or email


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Reasons to choose COTA Travel Insurance

• excess free*no age limits**
• easy and friendly phone or online application
• immediate cover, even before your trip
• simple, over the phone, medical assessment
• 24/7 emergency assistance anywhere in the world
• choose from a Domestic, Overseas or Frequent Traveller (domestic and overseas) policy
• dependent children and grandchildren covered at no extra cost


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Support Our Work and Get Involved

Our aim is to help create a more just, equitable and caring community in which older people are actively involved and have access to appropriate support, services and care. You can assist by:
Leaving a bequest in your Will to COTA Queensland;
Donating today through PayPal or by shopping online with Shopnate;
Joining as an individual member and receiving a wide range of  benefits through the COTA Rewards and Savings program;
Joining as an organisational member and contribute to our information exchange, policy development and service development;
Joining over 600 Queenslanders in our Consumer Reference Network to enable you to contribute your knowledge and experiences to the development of our submissions in response to those issues impacting on people age they age in Queensland


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Level 1, 25 Mary Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
PO BOX 15525, City East, QLD 4002
Office: +61-7-3316-2999
Toll Free Number (within QLD): 1300-738-348
Fax: +61-7-3316-2900