COTA’s position is that all Australian governments should consider climate change issues and policy responses in the context of an ageing population to ensure a safe, secure, equitable and sustainable future. Older people need to be included in all initiatives to ensure that their specific needs are addressed and supports a national policy framework that sets out cross sector interventions and policies to improve the quality of life of older people. In particular, COTA supports the investment in community health and support organisations to work at grass roots level in communities to rollout energy efficiency schemes.
The impacts of climate change and the costs of action and adaptation are unevenly distributed, with low income earners and disadvantaged groups, including substantial proportions of older people, likely to be affected first and most severely. The effects of climate change on older people on low or fixed incomes, who are disadvantaged socially, or who have health issues, will be significant because they have less capacity to adapt to the effects of extreme weather conditions including:
· higher temperatures and longer, more significant heat waves,
· increased costs for essential goods and services, and
· damage to housing and the built environment.
Energy efficiency programs and rebates should be efficiently coordinated between Federal, State and Local government – a ‘one stop shop’ access point or coordinating service would assist low income and vulnerable households to access these resources. Programs also need to be long term, consistent and easy to access to ensure that they reach low income and vulnerable households.
COTA will continue to advocate for ongoing participation of older Australians in policy and program development addressing climate change issues.
Position Statement On Climate Change
COTA Australia has adopted the following Position Statement on the crucial issue of climate change, and we have begun building our own response to this fundamental challenge facing us all.
- COTA Australia recognises the significance and impact of climate change on all Australians and our responsibility for the environmental legacy our generation is leaving for future generations.
- COTA Australia believes that Australia must be part of the global effort to take effective action on climate change. Unless Australia and other countries can strengthen their efforts to reduce carbon emissions, vulnerable members of the community, in particular children and older people will increasingly suffer the adverse impacts (including fatalities) from weather extremes such as heat waves, floods and bushfires. These impacts are already well documented.
- COTA Australia supports the transition to a low carbon economy to reduce carbon emissions and the need to consider its impact on vulnerable groups, including older people, in all policy areas including housing, health, income security, transport, energy and daily living.
- COTA Australia believes it is the responsibility of governments at all levels, to reduce carbon emissions, mitigate the effects of climate change and support older Australians to prepare for and adjust to a changing climate and economy in both the short and long term.