August 2017 Newsletter

What's happening at COTA NSW

August 2017 Newsletter

August 2017 Newsletter

Released: 24-Aug-2017

Event Date: to




What's happening at COTA NSW 

25 August 2017



Launch of 50+ Report

On August 10 COTA NSW released the latest 50+ Report at Parliament House.

The Report – the Twin Currencies:  how people in NSW spend their time and money as they age, is the result of input from more than 6000 men and women over 50 across New South Wales.

New COTA NSW CEO Meagan Lawson welcomed the Minister for Ageing the Hon Tanya Davies to launch the report, and discussed some key findings.

The report explored the details of how older people are spending their time and money, what their expectations are about retirement, and whether or not they really are ‘living the dream’. 

Among other key findings, the report found that contrary to popular stereotypes about older people being nothing more than ‘financial burdens’ to their families, older people are huge contributors to their communities – both in terms of their time and their money.

The findings of the report yielded some concerning insights regarding financial inequality, and the challenges people face as they age, particularly those without the freedom afforded by superannuation or investment income.

The key themes that emerged will help COTA NSW better understand the behaviour, attitudes and circumstances of older people in New South Wales, and ensure their voices continue to be heard.

You can read the full report Twin Currencies: Time and Money on the COTA NSW website

Pictured above are (L to R): Joan Hughes, President of COTA NSW; the Hon. Tanya Davies, Minister for Ageing; and Meagan Lawson CEO of COTA NSW.  



In August COTA NSW welcomed a new CEO, Meagan Lawson.

Meagan joins COTA from NSW Department of Family and Community Services, where for the last two years she managed the Ageing Team.

In that time she led the development of the refreshed NSW Ageing Strategy, and began its implementation and helped commission the Art of Ageing photographic exhibition, which is currently touring New South Wales. The exhibition aims to challenge perceptions of ageing. She has worked across all levels of government, including time as a councillor on Hawkesbury City Council, and as an advisor to a Federal Minister.

Outside of government, Meagan has spent extensive time in the NGO sector, including as the Manager of Policy and Advocacy at the Cancer Council NSW. She has wide-ranging experience in public policy, communications, advocacy and campaigns. She is an enthusiastic advocate for social justice, and has worked across a range of issues, including public health, medicines, mental health, ageing and forestry.

Meagan is pleased to be moving back to the non-government sector, and in particular to COTA, at such a critical time in the ageing debate.


COTA NSW welcomes new President

The COTA NSW Board has elected Joan Hughes as its’ new president.

Joan joined the Board in 2014 and became President on 1 July this year. She has held chief executive positions in the community services sector for twenty years including roles with the Australian Veteran Children’s Assistance Trust, Australian Red Cross, Carers Australia and Carers NSW.

Joan has also served on federal and state/territory committees and councils including the Ministerial Advisory Council on Women to the ACT Government, Dementia Collaborative Research Centre Committee, Aged Care Advisory Committee to the Federal Minister on Ageing, Ministerial Dementia Advisory Group, Pension Taskforce, and is a founding member of the National Disability and Carers Alliance.

The COTA NSW Board also paid tribute to outgoing President Chris Rigby, and thanked him for his contribution.


Notice of COTA NSW Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of COTA NSW will be held on Friday 24 November 2017 in the theatrette at The Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, Level 1, 280 Pitt St, Sydney. Members will need to arrive at 10:15am for a 10:30am start.

The special guest speaker will be the Hon Kaye Patterson AO, Age Discrimination Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Dr Patterson is a former senator and academic and has also served on a number of not-for-profit boards. She has demonstrated a strong interest in issues affecting older people throughout her professional life and her role as Age Discrimination Commissioner focuses on the rights of older workers, elder abuse and the need to encourage innovative solutions to homelessness and risk of homelessness for older Australians.

Places are limited and bookings are essential. Please contact COTA NSW on (02) 9286 3860 (or 1800 449 102 for callers outside Sydney) to obtain an information pack or to make a booking to attend.


Election to the COTA NSW Board of Directors

Two positions on the COTA NSW Board of Directors will be open for election/re-election at the COTA NSW Annual General Meeting on 24 November 2017. Nominations for election as a COTA NSW Director must be submitted to the COTA NSW Chief Executive Officer prior to 5pm on Monday 25 September 2017.

Members considering nominating for election to the Board are strongly advised to seek an information pack from Jason Chanphakeo (

Nominations must be:-

  • In writing and on a prescribed form.
  • Endorsed by two (2) voting members of COTA NSW.
  • Certified by the nominee (who must be a member or endorsed by an organisational member) expressing his or her willingness to accept the position.

Should more than two (2) nominations be received, a ballot will be conducted in accordance with the COTA NSW Constitution. The declaration of results will be made at the AGM.


 Like the sound of a green gym?

Want to help conserve our beautiful parks and bushland and get some exercise with like-minded people? If you’re aged between 50 and 80, you’re able to join the Green Gym – a fun, free, outdoor program that guides participants in practical conservation activities in Sydney’s east.

A skilled team leader will guide up to nine participants per session in gentle to moderate physical activities that will help improve biodiversity, restore native bushlands and revitalise community gardens.

Each session has an emphasis on health and social interaction, and includes a warm up and cool down.

Green Gym is a health and wellbeing program delivered by Conservation Volunteers Australia in partnership with Randwick City Council and Centennial Parklands, made possible by funding through the NSW Department of Family and Community Services Liveable Communities Innovation program. For more information please contact Joe Kielniacz on 9331 1610 or see the Conservation Volunteers website


When it comes to retirement villages, buyers beware

COTA NSW strongly advises people not to be pressured into quick decisions when it comes to choosing a retirement village.

Taking the time to seek independent legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in retirement village contracts will almost always result in a better outcome.

Programs including ABC’s Four Corners have revealed the activities of unscrupulous retirement village operators, and current and former residents sharing their personal stories of complex contracts and confusing marketing.

While many residents of retirement villages report they are happy with their circumstances, others have been badly affected by disreputable operators and confusing practices that are not focused on residents’ best interests. COTA NSW believes that more work is needed to reduce the complexity of retirement village contracts and fee structures, and that the NSW Government must ensure there are a range of housing options

available to older people, at a potentially vulnerable time in their lives.

Just this week Macquarie University launched a retirement village calculator that will help consumers quickly and simply compare the costs of different retirement housing by converting their fees to a standardised comparison rent.  You can find the calculator here 


Get back in the game!

Long for the days when you could spend hours running around a netball court or a football field?

The Modified Sports Program, a partnership between the NSW Government, Football NSW, Netball NSW and Gymnastics NSW was launched this week and features lower impact versions of popular sports to suit older people.

Modifications include adapting rules for netball and football matches, and tailoring gymnastic activities to cater for different levels of ability.

To register or for more information about modified sports for older people contact Football NSW, Netball NSW or Gymnastics NSW for all the details.


Grandparents Day Photography Competition

Got a beautiful photograph that captures the talent and experience of older people? Entries are now open for the NSW Grandparents Day Photo Competition. Photos will be judged on how they embrace and include NSW Grandparents Day celebration themes and their originality, composition, overall impact, technical excellence and artistic merit.

The competition is part of the NSW Ageing Strategy and is supported by The Australian Centre for Photography. Read all about it and enter here. Entries close on Friday 1 September.


Contact COTA NSW

Regional Free Call
1800 449 102
Metropolitan Sydney
(02) 9286 3860
Level 6 280 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000

All rights reserved COTA NSW © 2017