This submission captures events that had unfolded between the first Government-imposed lockdown that occurred in March and the end of June 2020. While the more recent stage 4 lockdown has not been covered in this submission, all of the issues detailed here-in still remain relevant to the current context. In some cases, these issues have now been amplified further as social distancing measures and restrictions have continued.
Importantly, this submission has been informed by the lived experience of older Victorians, based on:
- An analysis of trends that had emerged through calls made to our Seniors’ Information Line and Seniors Rights Victoria Helpline between March and June 2020.
- Over 700 anonymous responses to our survey on the experiences of older Victorians during COVID-19, collected in June 2020.
- A focus group that was held with COTA Victoria’s Peer Educators on 2 June 2020. Our Peer Educators Network is made up of 15 older volunteers from diverse cultural backgrounds who have been specially trained to deliver community awareness and engagement sessions in their local communities.
- A focus group that was conducted with members of our Policy Development Committee on 17 June 2020. Our Policy Development Committee consists of COTA Victoria members and board representatives with expertise in issues pertaining to public policy.
- A focus group that was conducted with leaders of our Older Men: New Ideas (OM: NI) discussion groups on 15 July 2020. Older Men: New Ideas (OM:NI) men’s discussion groups operate throughout metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. They are a place for men aged 50 and over to meet each other in an informal, social environment to share their knowledge and experiences.
- Feedback relayed to us by frontline staff working within Local Councils and community organisations supporting older people.
As we have not been able to cover the full breadth of issues impacting upon older people in this submission, we also refer the Committee to the following documents:
- The Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria’s submission to this inquiry, lodged in July 2020. ECCV’s submission provides a thorough insight into the barriers that have been faced by older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds during the pandemic and makes a number of recommendations for future change.
- The Policy Note on Covid-19 and older people in housing stress that was published by our colleagues at Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) in June 2020. We encourage the Committee to read this document in full as it provides a thorough insight into the experiences of older people experiencing housing stress during the pandemic and the shortfalls of associated policy interventions.
- The Consumer Action Law Centre’s submission to this inquiry, lodged in August 2020. This submission provides a thorough insight into the barriers preventing access to energy and other essential services throughout the pandemic.
View the submission on parliament.vic.gov.au.