As we’re getting closer to the Victorian state election, Council on the Ageing (COTA) is gearing up to create a more sustainable and age-friendly future for Victoria’s seniors.

Considering senior Victorians are already outnumbering school-aged children, it seems an age-friendly Victoria is not only in the interests of today’s seniors but also the next generation. In fact, it is predicted that the number of Victorians aged over 60 will grow from one million in 2010 (19 percent of the population) to 1.4 million in 2020 (23 percent) and then to 2.4 million in 2050 (29 percent).

And although we should celebrate that Victorians have one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, it does create challenges in terms of providing aged care services to our retiring workforce. And with water and energy costs set to rise faster than inflation and house prices sky-rocketing, seniors are in for a struggle. Imagine living in the same community for over 30 years, only to find out that the increased value of your house has driven up the rates to the point that you can no longer afford your home. Where do you go for help? What is the government doing to help?

COTA’s Age of Change election campaign has been designed to put pressure on the Victorian election candidates to create policies that will create a better outcome for Victoria’s older population. In doing so, COTA has defined three key issues that government need to act on: affordable services, low-income housing and age discrimination.

Campaigning on a very low budget, and run mainly by volunteers, COTA’s Age of Change campaign was put into motion at the Seniors Festival by recruiting more members and volunteers, all who have been encouraged to contact their local MPs, newspapers and talk back radio. And as we move into the next phase of the campaign, older Victorians who have suffered from these issues will release their stories to the media. Candidates will be asked what policies they intend to introduce for a more age-friendly Victoria so that COTA members and all Victorian seniors can see clearly which candidates are really for seniors.

COTA Victoria’s CEO, Sue Hendy, said that over 50% of seniors surveyed said they will cast their vote after considering parties commitment to a range of societal issues including issues that affect older people.

“With 20% of the Victorian population above the age of 60, their votes and voices should not be ignored,” she said.

As the Age of Change campaign continues to gain momentum, it will be interesting to see how the candidates respond in the lead up to the election.

Ellis Jones is assisting the Age of Change campaign by providing:

  • Design
  • Strategy
  • Political advice
  • E-newsletter campaign management