Commitment to a community for all ages welcomed

Media Release - Tuesday 10th February 2015

Leading seniors advocacy body COTA Australia today welcomed the South Australian Government's announcement that SA will be the state that promotes independence and new roles for older people.

COTA Australia Chief Executive, Ian Yates, and COTA SA Chief Executive, Jane Mussared, said COTA welcomed the Weatherill Government's initiative to focus on making the state friendlier for people of all ages.

In the Governor's speech to the opening of State Parliament the Weatherill Government commented that "As a community, we should also reconsider our attitude to this growing demographic. My Government believes that South Australia can be known as the place where you age but you do not grow old - a place where people in their 70s, 80s and 90s maintain meaningful roles working, caring, and volunteering."

"As a society we tend to marginalise people as they age - opportunities for active lives and contributions diminish. This statement is a very welcome commitment to reverse that trend and to create new possibilities by recognising that older people can continue to have meaningful and valued roles in the community whatever their age," Mr Yates said.

"It is a win-win. Things like access to affordable and appropriate housing, good public transport, pedestrian paths and ramps, safe and well lit recreation spaces and even handrails on steps to public buildings all help older people to be mobile and involved in their communities.

"The benefits for the community are obvious - people are healthier, happier and more likely to give back to families and communities in a wide range of roles.

"Ultimately communities that are friendly for all mean that older people can and do participate more fully in society, experience less isolation, better health and greater independence.

"And it benefits others too - like parents with prams, young children and people with disability."
Ms Mussared said that as Australia's population ages, all levels of government will increasingly need to lift their game and ensure our public places are better planned and facilitate people of all ages and abilities.

"South Australia has the second highest proportion of older people of all the states in Australia and it is great to see Premier Weatherill put his hand up for SA to take the lead," Ms Mussared said.

"COTA looks forward to working with the government of South Australia to turn this commitment into positive, concrete outcomes for the older residents of the state and an example to all of Australia."

Mr Yates said COTA encourages other states and territories to follow South Australia's example.

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Jane Mussared 0408 814 483, Jemma Williams 0409 510 879.

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.

Download a copy of the media release in pdf format

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