Call for Vic budget to fix 'gaping holes'

COTA Victoria: Fix 'gaping holes' in senior services

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COTA Victoria wants more help for people who want to embrace digital technology and also for those who don't. Photo: Shutterstock

COTA Victoria wants more help for people who want to embrace digital technology and also for those who don't. Photo: Shutterstock


COTA Victoria has issued a pre-budget submission to the Victorian Government ahead of the May 3 budget.


There are "gaping holes" in some fundamental services for seniors in Victoria, and Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria wants them addressed in the May 3 state budget.

The organisation has called on the government to prioritise significant spending on mobility, transport and digital inclusion for older people.

Its pre-budget submission highlights gaps in services for older people including social welllbeing, workforce opportunities, elder abuse, transport, digital inclusion and mobility.

"In our research, we discovered gaping holes in some fundamental services, in both metropolitan and regional centres," said COTA Victoria policy and advocacy manager Alexia Huxley.

"During the pandemic there was a significant decline in physical health and mobility for many older Victorians as they could not attend regular exercise programs."

Because of this, the organisation has called for more older people to have access to free or low-cost appointments with an exercise physiologist, dentist and physiotherapist.

It also wants to see a thoroughly costed community transport program and an expansion of the multipurpose taxi program to provide subsidised services to those on low incomes who don't drive.

COTA says older people are also trailing when it comes to the digital environment.

"For older Victorians who want to embrace the digital-only environment, education is vital," Ms Huxley said.

"But at the same time, we need to provide equitable access to information and services for the 65 per cent of older Victorians who are digitally excluded.

"Another major issue is that older people are constantly being forced to rely on friends and family to access information and services online because there are no low-tech solutions available.

"We know that dependency is one of the key risk factors for elder abuse."

COTA has called for investment in well coordinated services to facilitate digital inclusion and alternative access to information, including ongoing funding for a dedicated telephone line that provides information, support and referrals, and to enable local libraries and neighbourhood centres to provide access to information and online services.