Social Inclusion Forum 2012

COTA Queensland held its annual Seniors Week forum in August on the topic of the social inclusion of people as they age.  

More than 50 representatives of community, government and seniors groups identified barriers to inclusion in the areas of workforce participation, housing and health.   

Entitled Count Us In!, the forum developed potential solutions with the guidance of expert presentations from Professor Philip Taylor (Monash University), Dr Maree Petersen (University of Queensland), and Ros Walker (Queensland Council of Social Service).

Consumer perspectives Col Davies, Retired Unionists and Pensioners Allianceon the theme were also contributed by Michael Po Saw (Australian Myanmar Friendship Association of Queensland) and Bernice Ralph (Ipswich Regional Tenants Group). 

From the Forum a number of key messages were evident.  These include:

  • Social inclusion is significantly impacted when there are one or more barriers of workforce participation, housing and health.  Research and lived Margot Salom, Social Inclusion Forum Advisory Committeeexperience of consumers attest to this.
  • Withdrawal of government funding to public housing participant groups impacts on support mechanisms and the capacity for residents to remain socially included in their communities. 
  • Older people who are at greatest risk of homelessness are those who live alone in private rental accommodation and have fixed low incomes. 
  • There is increasing awareness of the positive and valuable contribution  mature age workers contribute to the John Okello, Africian Seniorsworkforce and the wider economy.   
  • Recent health reforms may result in increased barriers for consumers in understanding changes to health systems and services. 
  • Creative and sustainable solutions are required across all levels of government, community organisations and the community to ensure social inclusion is a reality for all people as they age.

In summary, a societal response is pivotal to addressing social isolation Clinton Miles, Office of the Public Trusteeand barriers.  Furthermore it is critical that the voices of older people are continually heard. As one participant said: “Give seniors a chance to tell their stories”. 

Access the presentations here:

Social Inclusion Forum 2012_Phillip Taylor

Social Inclusion Forum 2012_Maree Petersen

Social Inclusion Forum 2012_Michael Po Saw

Social Inclusion Forum 2012_Ros Walker

Social Inclusion Forum 2012_Bernice Ralph

2012_12_COTA Qld Social Inclusion Forum_Final Report

 Back row: Laraine Hinds, Mark Tucker-Evans, Mark Young, Anna McCormack, Leonie Swainston - Front row: Cae-Maree Meacham, Lorella Piazzetta, Fiona Jackson






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