COTA / OPAN Aged Care Consultations – Thank You

We were thrilled – and a little humbled – by the enthusiastic response to our consultation forums on the future of aged care. Almost 4,000 people registered for joint COTA/OPAN events across Australia.

Older people, their families, advocates, and others shared their views and experiences with us at 12 face-to-face forums that spanned Hervey Bay in Queensland to Victor Harbour in South Australia.

More than 3,000 people registered for our two online events to provide further input on the foundations of the new rights-based Aged Care Act and the Aged Care Taskforce’s funding principles.

We also spoke to older people living in six residential aged care homes in four different states to hear their perspective.

Members of Aged Care Crisis, Aged Care Justice, Aged Care Matters, Aged Care Reform Now and Quality Aged Care Action Group (QACAG) attended a follow-up online validation session.

For COTA and OPAN, these consultations have been rich and rewarding. The discussion was informed, impassioned, and inspiring.

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: the goal of the new Act is to put the rights of older people at the front and centre of their aged care. So, it stands to reason that older people must also be at the front and centre of the conversation around what that Act will look like.

Your first-hand feedback has informed our submissions to the government, which have been endorsed by a wide range of other peak consumer and carer bodies, including Dementia Australia, National Seniors , Elder Abuse Action Australia (EAAA), Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), Carers Australia and LGBTQI + Health Australia.

We will share more detail about what we’ve heard in two consultation papers to be released in the coming weeks. But one of the messages that came through clearly and consistently – across all platforms – was the compelling need for monitoring and enforcement mechanisms for the new Act.

‘[These rights are] not worth the paper they are written on unless they are applied in practice,’ observed one attendee.

There will be more opportunities to have your say on these important reforms in the coming months.

We’re aiming to do some further consultations when the Exposure Draft of the Act is released in December.

OPAN and COTA believe the new Act to be a crucial step in improving services, which is the only way to rebuild trust in the aged care sector. We are committed to ensuring a broad and diverse range of voices are heard during the consultation process.

Thanks jointly from us both … .Stay safe and well – and connected.

Patricia Sparrow, CEO, Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, and

Craig Gear, CEO, Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)