COTA NSW is working with older people in NSW to speak about their concerns and needs, and make sure their voices are heard.

Decisions that affect older people are made every day in NSW, and a persuasive voice in the ear of a decision maker can be hugely influential in creating change.

COTA NSW is working with older people in NSW to speak about their concerns and needs, and make sure their voices are heard.

We campaign on issues of concern, forge links with other groups who campaign on specific issues and assist individuals to campaign on issues that affect older people.

Campaigns can involve:

  • Providing and supporting representatives on consultative committees and councils.
  • Assisting people to take actions such as providing perspectives and information to local Members of Parliament.
  • Facilitating information and media on campaign issues.

If you’d like to make a positive impact for older people and help empower others, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact and we’ll be be in touch.

COTA NSW has long advocated for change to address the barriers faced by people over 50 when they seek employment. People of all ages contribute to workplaces and productivity, and age-based employment discrimination has no place in Australian society.

There are a wide range of issues impacting workforce participation, including language, culture, wellbeing and transitioning to retirement. To refocus employers and campaign for positive change, COTA NSW has partnered with Challenger Group Limited to enhance the skills of employers and provide much-needed resources in this key area.

The first stage of the project involved research into existing attitudes, from the point of view of both employers and employees. This revealed that even using the term “older worker” increases, not decreases the barriers. Identifying people by age immediately creates divisions and reinforces stereotypes, so focusing on the value that the person brings in terms of skills and experience, and the important role this has on performance, is a better narrative. This is what we will emphasise in our campaigning.

Other invaluable lessons include:

  • Language is important. The wording of job advertisements results in older workers not being attracted. Employers frequently use words like “fun”, “energetic” and “growth opportunities” and hold a deeply engrained views that ‘older people’ don’t possess these attributes.
  • Imagining something different is hard. Employers and recruiters tend to engage better with people they identify with. They may not even be aware they are instinctively employing people similar to themselves.
  • Begin how you want to end. To have the greatest success, employers need to focus on developing a productive team and an excellent performance culture. If they focus on the age of team members rather than skills and experience, they won’t achieve this.
  • Learning on the job. This is valued by everyone at work, not just young people seeking to climb a ladder or get a pay increase. Everyone can learn. Awareness is critical. Lack of awareness about deep-seated biases is the biggest barrier and occurs at all levels, and in particular among senior management.

COTA NSW has now built a set of tools and resources for employers to start them down the correct track. This includes:

  • Tools for people over 50 who are seeking employment
  • Tools for employers to assist them in overcoming age discrimination
  • Resources for employers on discrimination and how to address it
  • Techniques for overcoming existing mindsets about older workers
  • Case studies highlighting the issues and the solutions

JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN! We want to hear how you have been impacted, treated, discriminated against or marginalised at work (seeking or in employment), so that we can use your experiences to drive change and impact policy and attitudes. Email us at

COTA NSW has recently been active in the Building Better Homes campaign. The campaign is advocating for all states to adopt the new National Construction Code, which would enforce minimum accessibility standards for all new home builds.

Adopting the new code would have a huge impact on the quality of life for older people in NSW. Research shows that the majority of older people want to stay in their homes as they get older. However, far too often, those homes aren’t fit for purpose – the hallway is too narrow or the steps too high for someone with mobility issues to safely navigate.

The new code means that all new homes will be built in such a way that they are suitable for people whose mobility is impaired or can easily be adapted to be so. For example, doorways that are wide enough for wheelchairs, suitable turning zones for wheelchairs and walkers, staircases that could take a chairlift and reinforcement in bathroom walls so that support bars could be added.

NSW is one of the only states that has not adopted the new code. We’re asking the NSW government to implement these standards for the benefit of current and future generations of older people.

How you can help

You can email your local MP with this tool – just enter your details and your MP will be found automatically.

You can share your story – we are looking for people who have had difficulty staying in their home because it no longer meets their physical needs, or have had to move into aged care prematurely because their home was no longer suitable. If this sounds like you, or someone you know, and you’re willing to share your story, please email us at

COTA NSW has been proud to participate in the Better Renting campaign for healthy homes.

The campaign is aiming to secure energy efficiency standards for all rental properties. This would mean that landlords would have a responsibility to ensure that their tenants’ homes are suitably insulated.

This would make a big difference in the lives of renters, especially as our summers get even hotter due to climate change. It would reduce heating and air conditioning costs and provide greater safety to older people who are more at risk during heat waves.

What you can do

Share your story  – we are seeking stories from renters about their experiences in homes with poor energy efficiency. If you have a story you’d like to share, please email

Better Renting Website

COTA NSW is an active member of the NSW Ageing on the Edge Forum, a coalition of over 70 organisations and individual advocates who work to address housing and homelessness issues of older people.

The members include with experience of housing difficulties, advocates, service providers, peak bodies and private sector organisations. Other key members include the community Housing Industry Association NSW, the Housing for the Aged Action Group. The Mercy Foundation, Uniting mission Australia, the Women’s Housing Company, the Older Women’s Network and the Women’s Electoral Lobby.

The forum is calling on the NSW government to implement the following main strategies to address the crucial issue of housing for older people.

  • Fund a specialist older person’s housing information and support service that comprises of both early intervention and crisis response, similar to the ‘Home at Last’ model in Victoria.
  • Lower the priority age for social housing eligibility from 80 years as a matter of urgency.
  • Build 5,000 social and affordable homes per year for 10 years, 20% of which should be dedicated to older people.
Stay Strong To Keep Moving - COTA NSW

Stay Strong to Keep Moving is a campaign to bring you some simple ways to be more active. It has been put together by COTA NSW, Arthritis NSW, Diabetes NSW and ACT and the National Heart Foundation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that people have spent more time at home than usual. You may have spent a lot of time sitting, which is not good for your health. You may have found it difficult to keep up your physical activity or exercise, let alone start a new exercise program.

We all know that staying active is good for our health and wellbeing. It is recommended that older adults accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days.

However, did you know that strength and balance training is even more important as we age, and has many benefits for the body and mind? Maintaining muscle mass and strength helps us remain independent and able to do the things we want to do. Other benefits of strength and balance training include:

  • Reducing the risk of falls and other injuries
  • Improving joint health and bone density
  • Improving coordination
  • Reducing stress, anxiety and depression
  • Improving confidence in the way you move
  • Improving insulin sensitivity
  • Increasing brain function and learning
  • Helping to maintain a healthy weight
  • Supporting good sleep patterns

Why not get started now?

If you’ve become a COVID slug, Stay Strong to Keep Moving is here to help you get moving again. It doesn’t have to take a lot to start being more physically active, and it can be fun.

And remember, exercise isn’t one size fits all. If you have any concerns, talk to a healthcare professional about the types of exercise that are suitable for you, or look up one of these evidence- based strength and balance programs.

Download brochure with simple exercises to do now

Brochures in other languages: Arabic  Greek  Italian  Chinese (Simplified)  Chinese (Traditional)  Vietnamese

Heart Foundation Walking

Regular walking is one of the simplest ways you can improve your health, and  walking in a group has social benefits too. Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s largest free walking network. Find out more

Living Longer Living Stronger

COTA NSW Living Longer Living Stronger strength and balance program is designed to help people aged 50 plus improve their strength, mobility and balance. You have an individual assessment to develop a tailored exercise plan, then join a fun and friendly group where you can work towards your individual goals with a trained exercise professional. Find out more

Arthritis NSW Strength and Balance

The Arthritis NSW Strength and Balance Program is designed to help people living with arthritis and other musculoskeletal complaints.  It’s a social program developed to support healthy joint function, build strength, manage pain, maintain and improve mobility and support healthy balance. Find out more

Beat It Program

Beat it is an eight-week physical activity and lifestyle program from Diabetes NSW. It includes moderate-intensity aerobic, strength and balance-based exercises, as well as education sessions on healthier living. Suitable for all levels of fitness. Find out more

Arthritis NSW
Heart Foundation
Diabetes NSW & ACT
Back to Top

Help empower others

Would you like to make a positive impact for older people and help empower others? We’d love to hear from you.