October is certainly a time for change… and celebration.
Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge the retirement of Daniel Andrews as the Premier of Victoria and member for Mulgrave and thank him for his years of service to the state of Victoria. I also extend congratulations to Jacinta Allan – formerly the deputy premier and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure – who was recently voted by the Labor Caucus as the new premier of our state.
We at COTA Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria congratulate Premier Allan on her new role and look forward to working with her and her team to make sure that Victoria continues to support its older residents.
With the Premier’s long-term experience and stewardship of transport and infrastructure in the state, we know she is attuned to the unique issues that impact older Victorians. This is important within the context of the many changes that we will continue to see in this state under her leadership.
Victoria is getting older, which will have huge ramifications for a range of services and how we live in the coming years. This includes infrastructure, transport, housing and the health system, particularly as older people are encouraged to age well in the community by the Victorian Government.
With the Victorian population aged 60+ set to increase by 60% to over 2.3 million people – or, in other words, a quarter of the population – by 2046, it is essential that Victoria adapts to meet the needs of our ageing community in the very near future. We believe that this demographic change represents an opportunity for the incoming Allan administration to take a national leading role on an issue that is impacting the entire country.
Premier Allan has an opportunity to be the voice for a cohort that is growing and needs help to thrive.
And what better time to shine a spotlight on this than October 2023 during the Victorian Seniors Festival? This year, Seniors Rights Victoria is taking centre stage, offering and participating in several events throughout the state. I draw special attention to SRV’s Manager and Principal Lawyer, Avital Kamil, who will be featuring in a panel focusing on ageism to be held at Glen Eira Town Hall on 25 October.
Our SRV community and peer educators will also be hosting information sessions all throughout October; you can head to the COTA Victoria events page to find a location nearest you.
On the topic of education, I’m thrilled to announce that SRV’s new professional education model has launched, offering specialised instruction for service provides, agencies and other organisations in relation to recognising and responding to elder abuse.
This new service offering has been designed to improve the capacity of professionals to identify and respond to elder abuse and includes a mix of case study discussion, well-researched content, and time to apply learnings.
I’m also pleased to report that we’ve successfully implemented an entirely new volunteer framework, model, and range of amazing services and engagement opportunities for our valued volunteers.
We have begun to look ahead to the 2024/25 Victorian state budget. In the past week, we have submitted a funding submission to Minister Lizzie Blandthorn to support an urgent increase in service delivery for SRV following our reduction in funding this year, coupled with the increasing demand for our services. We are also embarking on a process of sector and community engagement to inform and guide our broader budget asks, with details on the survey below.
Finally, October marks the first month that COTA Victoria will manage its own members, taking over the responsibility from COTA Membership nationally. As I’ve previously stated, we’re in the process of making sweeping changes to our membership model – including free membership for all current and new members – alongside a bold new mission statement and value proposition. We’ll continue to be in touch with current members as to what this means for them, and let the public know when new memberships can be registered.
So there you have it – we’re in a state of change, but it’s all positive, and all with the betterment of all older Victorians in mind. That’s surely something to celebrate!
CEO, COTA Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria