COTA SA, the state’s peak body for older South Australians who represent the diverse voices and needs of 700,000 people aged 50+, has welcomed the State Government’s commitment to providing significant funding for health, cost-of-living relief including energy concessions, and housing, as outlined earlier in their State Budget announcement.
COTA SA CEO, Miranda Starke, said, “It’s great to see that the government has listened to the cost-of-living pressures that most South Australians are under, in particular older people.”
“We’ve heard many stories of how older people are struggling to make ends meet and the difficult choices they make to balance a budget. We know that many older South Australians will welcome the energy bill relief, but they’ll also be asking whether it is going to be enough given the recent hike in energy prices.”
“Our task now, is to continue to strongly advocate for older South Australians and ensure that they’re not forgotten when key budget investments and initiatives are rolled out.”
“COTA SA has been calling for increased funding for financial counsellors and we’re pleased to see that this has been included; we are keen to make sure that this leads to improved access for older women in financial hardship.”
“The investment in health is important, including funding support services, minor home modifications and equipment to allow non acute long stay hospital patients to return home – because older people want to be in their own homes.”
“We’re also pleased to see continuing funding for the Adult Safeguarding Unit, addressing elder abuse.”
“We are disappointed to see that our call for free ambulance for those on an Age Pension has been overlooked. South Australia needs to keep up with the rest of the country and providing this service to older South Australians will ease the pressures that come with accessing health care,” Miranda continued.
The government’s announcement of more social and affordable housing is also welcomed, “The boost in social and affordable housing will have a positive impact for older South Australians who are struggling with housing costs and who are at risk of homelessness.”
“For people in regional SA, it’s reassuring to see continuing funding for community transport, however, more investment is desperately needed particularly in areas like the Yorke Peninsula.”
“The $63.8 million to support skills development, including $10.2 million in regional areas, is important and we want to ensure older people have access to these opportunities, especially in regional areas.”
In response to the announcement of $200 million into digital funding for State Government services, COTA SA will be watching closely to make sure online services are user friendly and accessible for older people.
COTA SA will continue to strongly advocate the State Government to shape the rollout of these State Budget initiatives so that the voices of older South Australians are heard.
“We will be seeking the feedback of older South Australians in our State Budget survey so we can continue to represent their needs in the areas that matter most,” Miranda concluded.