Between the Lines gives an up-to-date snapshot of the issues surrounding older Tasmanians in the community 

Vale: Mollie Campbell-Smith AM MBE
(1917 - 2015)

The Board and staff at COTA Tasmania were saddened to hear of the recent death of this remarkable and accomplished woman.  As the longstanding chair of the Older Persons Reference Group in Launceston Mollie Campbell-Smith had a finger on the pulse of health and preventative health issues for older people in the Northern regions.

Mollie was a biology teacher for many years at Oakburn College and later at Scotch Oakburn College when the two schools merged in 1979. In her retirement she had myriad of other interests covering areas such as gambling problems, retirement incomes, women’s issues, Girl Guides and education.

She had a keen interest in a variety of issues and had a full diary right up to the very end of her days, only standing down from her role of Chair of the Older Persons Reference Group in May.

COTA assisted the Older Persons Reference Group hold an important forum in Launceston in October last year, and age 97, Mollie was the absolute driving force.  She was an avid spokesperson on the importance of education and was a leading voice in getting education streams on relationships, emotions and sex education in the 1970s.

 She forged a strong relationship with Senator Nick Xenophon around gambling problems in society and was also a prolific contributor to Letters to the Editor in The Examiner newspaper.

Mollie was a Director and Life Member of the American Field Service, Life Member and Tutor for LifeLink, Governor of the Tasmanian Community Foundation and a committee member of the Northern Regional Suicide Prevention Group and the Tasmania Dementia Care Group.
She was included on the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women in 2005 for services to education and training and service to the community.

She was awarded an MBE in 1986 and Member of the Order of Australia in 2008 for service to the community of Tasmania, particularly through the promotion of issues that affect the interests of women and to a range of organisations involved in the areas of health and aged care.

COTA offers sincere condolences to Mollie’s family and many friends.


Stakeholder Survey closes Wednesday

Many thanks to those who have already completed the COTA Tasmania annual stakeholder survey.  Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help us enormously with our planning and reporting.

The survey is open until 27th July so if you are yet to complete the survey there is still a little time to do so!

Here’s the link:



Former Public Trustee CEO joins COTA Board

The former CEO of the Public Trustee, Peter Maloney has joined the Board of COTA Tasmania, replacing David Benbow, a Board member since 2012 who resigned due to his increasing work commitments. Mr Benbow served as Treasurer and was a member of the Financial, Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Mr Maloney has been a long-standing advocate for older Tasmanians, working to stem the issue of elder abuse in Tasmania as well as various other issues around the state.

Mr Maloney first joined the Public Trustee as a Board member, becoming a Director in 1996 – a position he held continually until his retirement last year, making him the longest serving Director in the organisation’s history.

He’s also held honorary positions including Director of the Board of Management at the Australian Institute of Criminology, Member of the Criminology Research Council, Director of the Law Foundation of Tasmania and
Member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.


Susan Ryan now also Ambassador for Mature Age Employment

Susan Ryan AO has begun work as the Ambassador for Mature Age Employment, a newly created role to help build greater awareness amongst employers of the business benefits of hiring older workers and to improve the labour force participation rates of older people.
The new Ambassador position will help build on the Government’s streamlining of the recently re-launched Restart program, which provides subsidies for businesses hiring older workers.
Commissioner Ryan, who has been a powerful advocate for mature aged job seekers during her career, sees the new position as a natural extension of her role as Age Discrimination Commissioner.

During her watch, the Commission has begun a National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians and Australians with Disability.

Ms Ryan says one of the biggest challenges ahead will be convincing employers to change their attitudes towards older workers.

“Many employers have in their head, beliefs that  once people are over 50 it's downhill all the way, that they can’t be retrained, that they're not going to fit in, they're not going to be productive. All of those ideas are wrong - wrong, wrong - and we have to change them.

“It’s about changing attitudes And this is why Restart is such a good, well-targeted project, because it says to employers: have a look, if you're running a business and you need extra employees, you might be a bit worried about taking them on because they might need retraining if they're older. Here is $10,000 to assist you with that; you can use it for retraining, or for making other accommodations.”

Information about how to access the Restart program is on the Australian government website:

The new JobActive program should help older job seekers and workers with disability to get in touch with employers who need their skills:

The Australian Human Rights Commission is conducting an inquiry to seek to identify the barriers that prevent people from working, and in consultation with employers, affected individuals and other stakeholders establish strategies to overcome these barriers.  Submissions for the Willing To Work inquiry close in December 2015.
COTA Tas will be making a submission and will soon be inviting comments and stories.


Seniors Week features many new events in new locations

Tasmanian seniors will have access to almost 400 events and activities around the state during this year’s Seniors Week (12–18 October) including a number of new events in locations.

Historically popular light physical activities are again featured, including bowls, petanque, gentle squash, croquet and badminton. Other popular returning events include information and education sessions for using modern technology, various morning and afternoon teas and dinners, art and photographic shows, free health and fitness checks and many more.

The North West Coast has recorded the biggest boost in event numbers thanks primarily to the efforts of some enthusiastic local government Community Development Officers.  Among the new events available in this region include a Men’s Shed, barista training and even flying instruction!

The official Seniors Week Events Program, which again features the very popular and user-friendly Daily Planner, has details of all events published in three regional sections. This publication will commence distribution in early September and will be available at a variety of convenient locations including Post Office shops, Service Tasmania, community houses and health centres, LINCs and libraries, aged care facilities and many community pharmacies.

Seniors Week will be officially launched nearly a fortnight ahead of its 12 October start at a function on the East Coast co-hosted by the Glamorgan-Spring Bay Council - the first time in the 18-year Seniors Week history that the launch has been held in this region.


Age-friendly cities expert visits Hobart

   "An age friendly city is an environment where all the basic assets for you to have quality of life in an urban  environment are present’"
  Professor, Dr Alexandre Kalache
   A leader in age-friendly cities policy and planning, Dr Alexandre Kalache visited Hobart in June as keynote speaker    at a seminar on this subject.

    Dr Kalache’s advice and observations were of particular interest to COTA Tasmania, which is currently engaged in    a project aimed at informing and facilitating thoughts and actions towards age-friendly communities in                   Tasmania, under the auspices of the Tasmanian Government’s Inclusive  Ageing Strategy.

He’s a former director (1994 -2008) of the World Health Organisation (WHO), where in 2002 he launched the WHO Active Ageing Policy Framework, which led to the launch of the WHO Global Movement on Age-Friendly Cities. 

He is currently President of the International Longevity Centre – Brazil; Co-President of the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance; Senior Advisor on Global Aging at the New York Academy of Medicine and HelpAge International Global Ambassador on Ageing.

COTA TAS at the National Policy Council

COTA Tasmania’s representatives on COTA Australia’s National Policy Council recently attended the national policy council meeting and forum in Canberra where a wide range of significant and topical seniors issues were discussed, including retirement incomes, aged care, energy, climate change, human rights, housing, health, and mature-age employment.

They also attended a forum with the theme Gender and Ageing with a capacity audience at the National Press Club where an impressive group of speakers and forum delegates shared research analysis, on-the-ground experience, viewpoints and ideas for policy change to improve both gender equity and quality of life in senior years.

Each session generated principles, policy directions and specific ideas for change to address the needs of older Australians from a gender perspective. The outcomes from the forum sessions are being analysed in greater detail by COTA Australia and will help inform their strategies and priorities.

Click here to link to the forum summary communiqué and speaker presentations.


NILS helps to stay warm

The Tasmanian no-interest-loans-network (NILS) with support from the state government is providing a subsidy to help consumers with the purchase of energy-efficient heating, home insulation and blockout curtains and pelmets.

Approved applicants can be given 30% of the cost of the item and NILS would provide a loan of up to $2500 for the balance.

Eligible items include:


  • non-ducted reverse cycle air conditioners (minimum 2.5 start rating)
  • gas, air source heat pump and solar hot water systems
  • condensation control systems
  • ceiling and floor insulation
  • blockout curtains and pelmets 

If you know someone with a Healthcare or Pension card who might be in need of this assistance call 1300 301 650 for more information.


Purple Parliament House creates elder abuse awareness

While much of Hobart’s waterfront was awash with red light in June to mark the Dark Mofo winter festival, Parliament House provided a contrast, being bathed in purple light for almost a week to acknowledge World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

Purple is the internationally recognised colour for raising awareness of elder abuse – and supporters including Hobart’s Lord Mayor Sue Hickey, Human Services Minister Jacqui Petrusma and Speaker, Elise Archer joined COTA and Personal Best Fitness staff for the official lighting-up ceremony followed by a Walk Against Elder Abuse jaunt around the Salamanca precinct before returning to Parliament House for a special reception hosted by the Speaker, who graciously facilitated the purple light project and -  in what’s believed to be a first for the historic building - also allowed words to be projected on the facade – “Elder Abuse Is Not OK” together with the Helpline number.

Parliamentarians joined community supporters in wearing special WEAAD ribbons in the leadup to the events.

COTA also acknowledged WEAAD with ceremonies in Launceston and Burnie.

Launceston’s Town Hall also got the purple light treatment and the projected messages and in the north-west, a Walk Against Elder Abuse led by Healthglo Fitness & Leisure started and finished at the Maker’s Workshop in Burnie, which was also lit in purple.

Three public workshops were held around the WEAAD theme. COTA collaborated with the City Councils of Hobart, Launceston and Burnie to facilitate Taking Control: Legal Matters and Ageing workshops, which provided information on Powers of Attorney, Enduring Guardians, Advanced Care Directives and recognising and protecting against elder abuse.

The questions and themes raised in the forums will be used to inform COTA Tasmania’s advocacy and education activities in this space, which will shortly be expanded with the appointment of a specialist project officer.

 COTA Tasmania is receiving funding from the Dept of Health and Human Services to assist in the implementation of elder abuse prevention activities identified in the State Government’s Elder Abuse Prevention Action Plan 2015–2018.



Fact sheet assist grandparents raising grandchildren

An estimated 22,500 primary care givers in Australia are grandparents and many are unfortunately in this position because their children have problems with alcohol and drugs.

A brief fact sheet to help grandparents in this situation understand and deal with often bewildered and frustrated grandchildren is now available – click here.


Nominations now open for 2016 Tasmanian Leaders Program

The Tasmanian Leaders Program provides an unmatched leadership experience that achieves positive, transformative outcomes for participants and their employers.

The program uses a variety of educational processes to cultivate specific competencies crucial for effective and dynamic leadership. It exposes participants to a cross-section of today’s business and community leaders allowing participants to learn and engage in issues relevant to Tasmania’s future.

One of the secrets of the program’s success lies in the diversity of its participants. Each cohort includes current and emerging leaders, with established careers from varied backgrounds and sectors that span all spheres of business, non-profit and government.

High-potential leaders wanting to accelerate their leadership capacity by being challenged and inspired through interactive and reflective learning are invited to apply for next year’s program.

To find out more about the opportunity, download an application form or register to attend one of our information sessions, visit the Tasmanian Leaders website at


Let’s talk about sex

The inaugural Let’s Talk About Sex Conference (for older people) is to be held on 8 - 9 September, 2015 at the Pullman on the Park in Melbourne. The conference will explore a range of additional themes including ‘The Right to Choose’, ‘Safety and Health', 'Attitudes and Values' and ‘Having the Conversation.’

Regardless of whether you are a policy maker, manager or work directly with older people, Let’s Talk about Sex: Relationships and Intimacy As We Age will equip you with tools for assessment, a framework for managing sexual expression in your care-setting and strategies for managing challenging behaviours.

Society has a tendency to regard us as asexual when we get older. However, our desire for intimacy remains. This conference will support you as a worker to understand and support the needs of older people in this area, as well as to deal with challenging situations. 

For more information on registration, visit the conference website


Survey about physical activity of older people

A team from Griffith University is conducting a project to examine the factors that influence physical activity in older Australians and seeking input from Tasmanians. 

Seniors are invited to compete a survey asking older adults about their habits, attitudes and beliefs about physical activity, followed by two very short telephone-based surveys, one and two weeks later. To thank you for your participation, you will be offered an opportunity to enter a draw to win 1 of 5 prizes. 
You contribution will be warmly welcomed if you:


  • Are aged 65 years and over
  • Live independently in the community (including retirement village setting); and,
  • Do not have a medical reason that would prevent you from doing moderate-intensity activity (you will not be asked to do any activity for this research). 

You can participate in the study now by clicking on the link here, or contact the research team (via email or phone 07 3735 3313) to receive a personal paper-based survey, along with reply-paid envelope. 

COTA stalwart retires

  COTA Tasmania's longest serving employee Jane Bowman has retired after more than nine years of service to the   organisation.

  Jane commenced as a volunteer in 2004 and joined the staff shortly after as Peer Education Coordinator, a role       she's held ever since.

  Jane has coordinated the delivery of more than 800 peer education sessions to over ten thousand Tasmania            seniors all over the state.

  She leaves us to spend more time with here increasing number of grandchildren.   Best wishes, Jane!


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