Melbourne, 23 May — Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) welcome a Victorian state budget that provides a number of funding announcements that will help older people, but at the same time lacks a targeted focus on one of the most vulnerable cohorts.
“This budget has been delivered in an environment of harsh financial and social pressure for older people and growing demand for crucial services,” said COTA Victoria and SRV CEO, Chris Potaris. “These pressures have only increased since we made our pre-budget submission.
“We recognise the severe budget constraints for government at this time,” he continued. “While this means that hard choices need to be made, we must ensure that older Victorians doing it tough are not even more disadvantaged by any tightening of government expenditure.”
The Andrews-led Victorian Government today announced supports that will directly benefit older Victorians, including funding for vital local community participation programs, elder abuse prevention programs, and a fourth round of the $250 Power Saving Bonus program.
A number of other measures in the state budget will broadly provide important benefits to older Victorians. They include funding for health system growth and enhancement, an investment to hire more paramedics, funding for the Mulitpurpose Taxi program, and a pledge to deliver on Victoria’s Bus Plan.
“The very small number of significant new investments specifically targeting older Victorians in the budget, and a general lack of focus on older people as a priority, is disappointing,” Mr Potaris continued. “This makes it even more important for organisations such as COTA Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria to step up and work with government to support older people over the coming year and into the future.
“We are extremely pleased that funding for our core programs supporting older Victorians have been renewed for the next four years,” Mr Potaris continued. “Today’s announcements follow those by the Federal government and are vital to our capacity to contribute to the positive ageing agenda.”
COTA Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria will continue to engage with older Victorians and advocate to government about needs identified in the Ageing Well Action Plan 2022-2026.
“We look forward to seeing further detail on several budget measures,” said Mr Potaris. “We are also keen to work with government to keep priorities not funded at this stage on the agenda for future consideration.
“We will focus on identifying the most effective and efficient ways to provide critical supports – through both new and existing programs – during an ongoing cost-of-living crisis.”
Together with partners across the sector, COTA Victoria and SRV will shortly launch a new campaign called Older Not Alone in June 2023. The campaign will support awareness of available community resources and supports for older Victorians as we enter a tough winter period. Further details of the initiative will be announced soon; a sneak peak is available at the Older, Not Alone website.
The full COTA Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria briefing on the Victorian State Budget 2023-24 is available using the download links at top and bottom of this page.
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COTA Victoria is the leading not-for-profit organisation representing the interests and rights of people aged over 50 in Victoria. For over 70 years, we have led government, corporate and community thinking about the positive aspects of ageing in the state.
Today, our focus is on promoting opportunities for and protecting the legal rights of people 50+. We value ageing and embrace its opportunities for personal growth, contribution, and self-expression. This belief drives benefits to the nation and its states alongside communities, families, and individuals. Visit the COTA Victoria website.
Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) is a program of COTA Victoria and the key state-wide service dedicated to advancing the rights of older people and the early intervention into, or prevention of, elder abuse in our community.
SRV has a team of experienced advocates, lawyers, and social workers who provide free information, advice, referral, legal advice, legal casework, and support to older people who are either at risk of or are experiencing elder abuse. SRV supports and empowers older people through the provision of legal advice directly to the older person. Visit the Seniors Rights Victoria website.
Chris Potaris has over 25+ years of CEO-level experience in over eight industry sectors, and has chaired and sat on numerous boards, regional and community-based entities that included small, medium, and larger not-for-profits.
Chris has been founder and Chair of a Social Justice Coalition in Melbourne’s west, an Integrated Justice Precinct Advisory Group informing the State Government on the urgent need for integrated justice services, and a criminal prosecutor for over 13 years.