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Thursday, June 30, 2022

COTA head says election focus needs to be on older Australians

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The peak body for older Australians has urged whoever wins the May 21 election to take a whole of government approach to tackle issues faced by older Australians.

The Council of the Ageing Australia (COTA) says it has never been more important to engage with older people as the population continues to age.

COTA CEO Ian Yates, pictured above, has released an agenda he says sets out positive opportunities for the next government to improve the lives of older Australians.

“We are not apportioning blame for the past … our focus is on what can be achieved in the next three years,” he said.

“That’s what matters to older people, and indeed their families, which is really all Australians.”

It’s time to remove ageism from Australia, especially to strengthen age discrimination legislation so it’s actually effective.

COTA CEO, Ian Yates

COTA is calling for the future government to address a number of key issues including ageism.

“It’s time to remove ageism from Australia, especially to strengthen age discrimination legislation so it’s actually effective,” Yates said.

COTA would like a much more concerted effort from government to prevent elder abuse, and straight forward policy changes for better, fairer and more effective retirement income policies.

Following the aged care royal commission, COTA says a new human rights-based Aged Care Act should be introduced to put older people at the centre of care.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese, meanwhile, says Governments should ensure in every budget they consider what to do for people who are doing it tough.

I will always be sympathetic to pensioners. I grew up in a household where I survived as a child with a mum on an invalid pension.

Federal Labor leader, Anthony Albanese

While campaigning in the NSW federal seat of Hunter, Albanese was asked by pensioner Fred, via a journalist, what he would do for pensioners if elected.

“Fred is someone who, like a lot of pensioners, will always have a good say, is someone who has made a great contribution in his working life and deserves respect and dignity in his older years,” Albanese said.

“I will always be sympathetic to pensioners.

“I grew up in a household where I survived as a child with a mum on an invalid pension.”

Albanese reiterated that the last time Labor was in office, it gave the biggest increase to pensions in history.

“In every single budget, governments should consider what they can do for people who are doing it tough,” he said.

My government will never, ever use the cashless debit card on pensions.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison

Labor is seeking to hold the seat of Hunter, following the retirement of veteran MP Joel Fitzgibbon, at the May 21 federal election.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to claims that pensioners will be put on cashless debit cards if his government wins re-election.

A number of Labor MPs have alleged on social media, and in parliament, that the government has a plan to put pensioners on the cashless welfare card.

Morrison told Tasmania Talks radio it was a “disgraceful lie and deceitful lie from the Labor Party”.

“My government will never, ever use the cashless debit card on pensions.”

He said it had been in trial programs around the country in areas where the government had been “working directly with communities who have been supporting the card”.

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