Strategic Directions 2016-2020

Strategic Directions 2016-2020

1. Our Vision

An equitable, just and inclusive society that values people of all ages.

2. Our Purpose

To advance the rights, needs and interests of older people by being a highly effective national peak body.

3. Our Values

  1. Valuing the contribution and lived experience of older people – consulting and acting on the advice of older people; engaging older people in all aspects of our work.
  2. Vision and Optimism – being creative and forward looking; being prepared to think laterally and constructively; being enthusiastic.
  3. Leadership and Action – taking united action, speaking out on behalf of older Australians and having measurable and accountable outcomes.
  4. Working Together Co-operatively as a United Team – being respectful, ethical and cohesive; being committed and prepared to work hard to maintain the full involvement of all parts of the COTA federation for the common good of older people.
  5. Quality and Efficiency – having planned, systematic, evidence-based and best practice approaches to all that we do.
  6. Valuing Diversity – recognising and valuing the diversity of older Australians including age, cultural, racial, linguistic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity.

4. Our Key Roles

  1. Driving policy change in the interests of current and future older people across all priority policy areas that affect them, in accordance with COTA values and principles
  2. Ensuring that policy decisions involving older people are based on evidence, research, and consultation; and take into account the diversity within the older population.
  3. Ensuring that the voices of older people are heard in all relevant policy debates.

5. Strategic Requirements for these roles

  1. At least annual reviews of policy priorities, against understood decision-making criteria.
  2. Continuing development and maintenance of strategic partnerships
  3. Building political acumen and capacity across the COTA federation
  4. Resources to strengthen S/T COTA capacities for consumer engagement and sustainable business roles around this
  5. COTAs fully engaged in the national policy and advocacy framework including contributing to leadership of policy development in agreed delegated areas
  6. Seamless access to COTA membership, supporters and networks for issue identification, involvement in policy development and advocacy campaigns
  7. Keeping ahead of the game in building and utilising IT capabilities for a federated membership and wider stakeholder network
  8. Ensuring all policy and program development fully incorporates the multifaceted diversity of the older population
  9. Building staff and volunteer capacity to be optimally equipped to fulfil our roles
  10. Continuing and expanded proactive media strategies
  11. Growing and diversifying our funding base including through industry support
  12. Strengthening our role as a key voice on behalf of older Australians in international forums and organisations

6. Probable Policy Directions and Context

We expect that in this five year period we will continue to see:

  • fiscal pressure at all levels of government
  • economic volatility and challenges to growth
  • continuing political volatility
  • escalating digital developments impacting on both the nature of the economy and individual life
  • potential increasing economic and social inequality
  • impacts of climate change and progressing to a low carbon emission economy
  • continued ageing of the population with a more multifaceted diversity of older people, and
  • at any time the potential for major healthcare breakthroughs which could further impact beyond this period on longevity, morbidity and service needs.


COTA Australia’s policy settings are predicated on removing ageism and age discrimination in all its forms, and advancing in practice the full citizenship rights of older Australians. Recognising that there will likely be policy priorities we have not foreseen, the key national priority areas for COTA A will be:

  • aged care reform and development of the reformed system, with areas of focus likely to include:
    • full implementation of the current aged care reforms and those in current collaborative planning
    • development of a platform of consumer support and empowerment services and programs, including increased advice and better measures of aged care quality; and
    • policy settings to ensure that real government support to people without their own means in full or part is maintained and increased as needed to ensure equitable outcomes (e.g. in remote area services).
  • development of an adequate, sustainable and equitable retirement incomes system, including pre-retirement arrangements, with areas of focus likely to include:
    • increasing the workforce participation rates of people over 50 years
    • adequacy – in general and for specific cohorts (e.g. women)
    • effectiveness of government policies in increasing retirement incomes on an equitable basis
    • policy settings to deal with longevity, investment and life event risks and use of home equity
    • unsustainable housing costs
    • improving financial literacy and advice; and
    • adapting retirement incomes to changing economic circumstances.
  • health care reform with areas of focus likely to include:
    • age discrimination in healthcare
    • older people’s mental health,
    • effective health promotion for older people
    • increased self-care capacity in primary care, and
    • improved palliative and end-of-life care and control.

Other priorities will include supporting the COTA Federation in the development of age friendly communities, including the need for affordable, appropriate and accessible later life housing; age friendly public spaces; and improved public and community transport.