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November 20


Queensland Government Concessions and Services – Have your say

COTA Queensland invites you to share your experience with us through our latest survey. We are keen to hear how Queensland Government subsidies and services affect you.

Responses will help us with our submissions, including our submission to influence the Queensland Government 2014-2015 budget.

The survey will close on Friday December 20, 2013.

To take the survey click here

Do you know someone who would be interested in participating in this survey?  The more older people who provide information the stronger our submission will be.

Creating an age-friendly Queensland together.

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Special appeal for older Filpinos

Donate to help older Filipinos affected by Typhoon Haiyanin through HelpAge International

The terrible devastation of Typhoon Haiyanin in the Philippines has caused huge suffering coming in the wake of a recent earthquake. COTA has just received an update from HelpAge International about the effects on older people.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than 11 million people have been displaced including an estimated 1.3 million people over the age of 50 years.

When natural disasters strike, it is older people who bear the brunt of the pain — and who make up a disproportionate number of fatalities. Older people often suffer from poor mobility, and pre-existing health issues that become deadly in times of crisis. This is an opportunity to learn from our recent history — 70% of the deaths after Hurricane Katrina were deaths of older people. In the Japanese earthquake, people over 60 represented 64% of deaths. This time, we must not forget older victims.

COTA  has many volunteers and members who have come from the Philippines and who have family in the devastated area so we are aware of the terrible suffering.

Organisations like COTA across the world are helping. We are asking you to support HelpAge International, who are now on the ground delivering aid. Survivors urgently need clean water, food and shelter so your donation to HelpAge International will help with immediate assistance and longer term recovery and development. If you're able to help, please donate to help older Filipinos affected by Typhoon Haiyanin.

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Have your say on our digital future

The Queensland Government has released its Draft Queensland Digital Economy Strategy and is calling for feedback and ideas on how they can make Queensland the most digitally-interactive state in Australia.

Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts Ian Walker announced that feedback can be given until 9 December 2013.

“We really want to hear from rural and remote Queenslanders, community organisations, small businesses and especially those people without an internet connection.

Mr Walker said people can take part in the consultation through an interactive digital platform that will engage people to share their views and ideas.  To join the conversation people can visit or

People who aren’t online can phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) to request a copy of the draft strategy document or find out about key regional workshops around the state. 

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Health Consumer Representative Workshop


What is the “patient experience”?

How can health consumers and carers be involved in their care, health service redesign and systems improvements to improve the patient experience?

Metro North Hospital and Health Service (MNHHS) and Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) are jointly hosting the first in a series of free workshops for health consumers and carers who are interested in becoming or are currently engaged as consumer representatives with Metro North HHS. 

Workshop details:
9:00am (for 9.30am start) – 2:00pm
Thursday 5 December, 2013
Lunch 1:00pm ( provided)

The Innovation Hub, National Disability Services (NDS)
Suite 9, Level 4, Lutwyche Centro Shopping Centre, 543 Lutwyche Road, Lutwyche

Free parking available at Lutwyche Centre Shopping Centre .  Click here for venue details and map

To be considered for attendance at the workshop, please complete the  Expression of Interest form and email it to: Closing Date for Expressions of Interest: 5:00pm, Friday 22 November 2013.

For more information, contact Melissa Fox, HCQ on telephone (07) 3316 2917.

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Older Australians with Mental Illness

Inadequate care, poor health, isolation and unstable housing are major concerns for many older people with mental illness according to new research by SANE Australia.

A study by the national mental health charity has found that more support, services and education are needed to appropriately care for our ageing population.

‘We found from first-hand accounts that there are relatively few support and rehabilitation services aimed at older adults living with mental illness. Caring is often left to generalist aged care staff, who have little, if any, understanding of mental health issues,’ says SANE CEO Jack Heath.

Growing Older, Staying Well – Mental health care for older Australians draws together research, interviews and surveys SANE Australia conducted earlier this year with over 130 people living with mental illness, carers and service providers.

‘Many older Australians have managed their mental illness over a number of years and they’re often pretty resilient; but as they get older, additional challenges impact on their lives,’ Heath explains.
‘As an example, a lack of employment in earlier life can mean this group is less likely to have secure housing or financial resources. The death of an aged carer can lead to an urgent need for support and the long-term effects of medication on physical health can also affect people’s independence, stopping them from being able to do the activities they enjoy.'

You can get the full report at:

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Staying cool and beating the heat

Are you already starting to melt?  Summer is on its way and it is important to stay cool and hydrated during these hotter months.  Almost 400 Queenslanders were treated at Queensland Health emergency departments for heat-related illness from July 2011 to June 2012, with more than 60 per cent of cases occurring in the hottest months.

Below are some tips to assist in keeping you cool and beating the effects of the heat this summer:
• wear loose, lightweight, light coloured clothing to keep cool
• drink plenty of fluids - cool water is best. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink but drink regularly throughout the day
• urine colour is a good guide to hydration - it should be clear to light straw-coloured, not dark or gold
• stay indoors in very hot weather, preferably in an air-conditioned building or ensure there is good air flow with fans and open windows
• public venues, such as air-conditioned shopping centres and pools, can provide refuge from the heat
• people can also stay cool by taking cool showers or baths, soaking their feet in a basin of water, or wetting a bandana or washer and wrapping it around their neck
• Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest par of the day between 11am and 4pm
• take time to adjust to the environment, pace yourself and limit strenuous outdoor activity.

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Preparing for weather extremes

'Being Prepared For Weather Emergencies and Extremes'  was the title of the presentation given by Red Cross, Emergency Services Worker, Brenda Baldwin at COTA Queensland's Members and Friends Morning Tea earlier this year. 

At the time the Red Cross Emergency Service Team for central and southern Queensland was still actively engaged in Bundaberg following the area's flood crisis at the end of January 2013.  The Burnett River flooded its banks in the deluge that followed ex-tropical cyclone Oswald, causing the worst flooding in the town's history. This was all part of Australia's warmest summer since records began in 1910. Hence the importance of learning about being prepared for weather extremes.

Brenda from Red Cross Emergency Services, emphasised the following steps recommended in the booklet Emergency REDiPlan: Household preparedness for seniors:

Step 1: Be informed:
• learn about your local environment and emergency services
• identify potential hazards in your area
• build a good knowledge about the emergency management plans for your area
• be proactive about extreme weather or fire warnings and know where to get information about an emergency
• think about where you might shelter
• identify where to get assistance in an emergency.

Step 2: Make a plan:
• create a household emergency plan
• decide if you should stay or go in an emergency
• ensure you think about protecting your valuables, including pets and animals
• think about your financial future
• do regular checks to make sure you're ready.

Step 3: Create a household emergency kit:
• how to get started and identify the essentials
• what valuables and keepsakes to include
• why it's a smart idea to add some games and other entertainment
• how to figure out where to store your emergency kit
• when to check your emergency kit
• why a smaller kit for the car and office is a good idea.

Step 4: Know your neighbours:
• prepare your neighbourhood for emergencies
• identify who may need assistance in an emergency
• share knowledge and work together in an emergency.

Planning for weather extremes, and the potential loss of electricity and water supplies, can help us to be more safe and confident in the event of an emergency, as well as help others within our capabilities.

As a woman who attended the morning tea said: "I must get prepared NOW!"

For further information, visit the Australian Red Cross website at:

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Christmas shopping rush and your consumer rights

Businesses can sell their goods and services in many different ways however it is important for you to know your rights and protections when you come to do your Christmas shopping this year.

Consumer guarantees
What do you do if you buy a faulty product? The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) automatically provides you with certain guarantees on goods and services. As a consumer, you are guaranteed that the goods you buy are of acceptable quality, match the description or sample and carry out their intended purpose. You are guaranteed that the services you buy are provided with care and skill, fit for purpose and completed within a reasonable time.

If a good or service fails to meet a guarantee you have rights against the business you purchased them from. For more information about guarantees, visit the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) website. You can also download OFT’s free BuySmartQLD app for iPhone and Android mobile devices. This handy app gives you round the clock access to info on your consumer rights.

Are you entitled to a refund? Refunds aren’t always an automatic right. Businesses don’t have to give you a refund if you change your mind, or buy the wrong size or colour. However, you are entitled to a refund if a consumer guarantee is not met.

Businesses will usually give you a refund in the same way you paid. In most cases a business cannot place fees or conditions on a refund or exchange. They can only place fees or conditions on a refund if they aren’t legally required to give you the refund and clearly displayed these terms in writing, either in store or on your receipt.

To check your refund rights, visit the OFT website.

Door-to-door and telemarketing sales
Door-to-door and telemarketing sales can be convenient ways of buying products or services especially if Christmas time in-store shopping is too hectic for you. However, there can be risks with this type of shopping so there are extra consumer protections when you buy this way.  

Door-to-door traders and telemarketers must not contact you on a Sunday or public holiday, before 9am or after 6pm (8pm for telemarketing) on a weekday and before 9am or after 5pm on a Saturday. Door-to-door traders must also explain the purpose of the visit, leave the premises if you ask them to, explain your cooling-off rights and give you a written copy of the agreement. The cooling-off period starts when you receive the written agreement and you have 10 business days to change your mind on a contract.

More information about door-to-door and telemarketing sales can be found on the OFT website.

Online shopping
Another way to avoid the Christmas crowds is to shop online. Shopping this way can offer savings and convenience but, it’s important to be smart about how you do it..

Here are 10 safe online shopping tips:

• know the business – only buy from websites of businesses you trust
• know the product – ensure the product will work in Australia
• check the contract – read the terms and conditions
• check the full cost – be aware of extra costs like postage and taxes
• protect your privacy – read the company’s privacy policy
• confirm the order – confirm or reject order before paying
• keep records – print your order before and after you confirm
• pay securely – use secure websites beginning with https:// or a padlock image
• resolve problems – contact the business immediately if a problem occurs
• look out for scams – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

More online shopping tips can be found on the OFT website.

If you would like more information about consumer guarantees, refunds, door-to-door and telemarketing sales, and online shopping you can visit or call 13QGOV (13 74 68).

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  1. Queensland Government Concessions and Services – Have your say
  2. Special appeal for older Filpinos
  3. Have your say on our digital future
  4. Health Consumer Representative Workshop
  5. Older Australians with Mental Illness
  6. Staying cool and beating the heat
  7. Preparing for weather extremes
  8. Christmas shopping rush and your consumer rights

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Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland

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