Here are some highlights of the history of the Council On The Ageing Western Australia (COTA WA).

We appreciate any feedback and comments. To make a comment please contact our Executive.

1950’s and 1960’s


The Old People’s Welfare Council of Western Australia is established following the 1958 creation of a national body largely based on an English model.


The ‘Golden Age Visiting Service’ – for lonely elderly, using volunteer visitors.
The first “Old People’s Week” (forerunner of Seniors Week).


Created and circulated a “Schedule of ‘C’ Class Hospitals” (nursing homes) for doctors and family members.


Held convention in Perth Town Hall and argued for government sponsored home aid service for the aged. Also for lifting or abolition of retirement age.


Established a committee on ‘Accommodation for the Frail Elderly’.
Encouraged establishment of Senior Citizens’ Centres at, for example, Bunbury and Waroona.

Established library specifically for literature on aged.


Old People’s Welfare Council of Western Australia became Western Australian Council on the Ageing.



Established a ‘Pre-retirement Council’ (forerunner of the WA Retirement Education Service)


Established the Residential Aged Care Association which became Aged Care Western Australia Incorporated (now Aged & Community Services Western Australia Inc)
Production of “Directory of Services for Older People”.


Established three Carers’ Support Groups in Perth (Selby, Cannington and Fremantle).

1978 – 1979

In conjunction with the Uniting Church, established Trinity School for Seniors.



Initiated and sponsored 6NR’s Aged Concern Radio programme.


Successfully involved Government in the resumption of an annual Seniors’ Week.


Brought University of the Third Age concept to WA and assisted (1986) the setting up of U3A (UWA).


Published the report Concerns and Issues Related to WA Retirement Villages and the Need for Legislation from which the Retirement Villages Act (1992) originated.


Initiated monthly (metropolitan) Seniors’ Forums.


Created “Community Based Home Care Services Group” later incorporated as “WA Network of Community Based Home Care Services”


Initiated, sponsored and then separately incorporated the Older Persons Rights Service.



Initiated the steering committee charged with establishing WA Retirement Complexes Residents’ Association Incorporated.
Initiated, sponsored and then separately incorporated the WA Carers’ Network.


In conjunction with the Advisory Council to the Minister for Seniors, held public consultations as a contribution to the State Strategy on Ageing.
Extensive consultations conducted with Aboriginal and ethnic elders in North West and Metropolitan regions.

Initiated, sponsored (for separate incorporation) the Intergenerational Activity Network of WA. Later to become the Intergenerational Advisory Network.


Published a resource kit for ethnic seniors “Options and Services for Ethnic Seniors”.
Formally inaugurated the COTA Mandurah (Peel Region) Branch.

Convened (at Karratha) the first meeting of the Pilbara Seniors Council Steering Committee.


With WA Council of Social Services, facilitated the establishment of a sector network, ‘Community Organisations for Older People’ (CO-OP).
Sponsored the COTA(WA) ‘Senior’s Education Association’

Established the School Volunteer Program with a Grant from the Gordon Reid Foundation for Youth and the Lotteries Commission.


Awarded Certificate of Merit by the Australian Violence Prevention Awards for COTA’s Elder Abuse Prevention Program.


Launch of the COTA Seniors Technology Centre with funds provided by Lotteries Commission for purchase of the necessary equipment and a seeding grant from Office of Seniors Interests.


Award of Contract to run Seniors Week in 1997 and 1998
Established Interim Steering Committee for Coalition ’99 International Year of Older Persons.

Launch of Elder Protection Protocol for Government Agencies.


Awarded Lotteries Grant for Phase I Expansion of Offices.
Awarded Grant for the Elder Protection Pilot Project.

Launch of COTA(WA) website.


Awarded Contract to Run Seniors Week 1999.
Launch of the 1999/2001 Strategic Plan for COTA(WA).



Launch of COTA(WA) Policy Bulletin Board.
Presentation at the 2000 Fulbright Symposium on the digital divide.


The Seniors Technology Centre became a Registered Training Organisation with 10 nationally accredited computer courses.
Policies identified in pre budget submission incorporated into Government Policy.

Awarded Lotteries Grant for Phase II Expansion of offices.


Completed Office refurbishment and expansion.
Organised over 500 volunteers for the 6th Global Conference on Ageing.


Received funding to provide Computer Training Courses for Seniors with Disabilities.


Received funding for the Living Longer Living Stronger program.
Received project funding for First Click, Disabilities courses and Digital Divide courses.

Funded 86 Community groups for BankWest Seniors Week via Lotterywest and OSIV grants.


Chose to remain independent legal entity and withdrew from Merger with COTAs in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
Received funding for the first Stay On Your Feet Week Community Grants.

Secured significant funding to expand Living Longer Living Stronger.

Entered into research partnership with Curtin University for the Behind Closed Doors project.

Joined the COTA Over 50s Alliance.

Formed sister relationship with Singaporean Action Group of Elders.


Participated in International Federation on Ageing Conference in Copenhagen.
Began partnership with beyondblue to deliver Beyond Maturity Blues.

Succeeded in the We Can’t Wait campaign to establish a state funded continence product support program.


Moved to new premises in West Perth.
Received Health Department 3 year contract to extend Living Longer Living Stronger 2007 to 2010.

Ran Seniors Quality use of Medicine Program.


Computer Classes began.
Fair Go for Pensioners campaign.


COTA WA celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
Seniors week community grants now funded by Dept for communities and Lotterywest. Still administered by COTA WA.

COTA WA launches its Facebook site and converts newsletter to electronic format.

Crime and Safety programmed developed and launched.

Act Belong commit for seniors developed and launched.

Murdoch University Social Isolation Program and research launched October, 2009.

Establishment of the Seniors Alliance.

The Workers compensation and Injury Management Act reformed to remove the age discriminatory provisions due in part to COTA WA active advocacy on this subject.



Establishment of the COTAWA Seniors Housing Centre in partnership with the Department of Commerce.
Seniors housing research project on Tenure issues commenced.


Active Ageing Conference.


Fair go for Seniors Rally.
Hands off the Pension Campaign launched.


Strategic Plan 2015-2018 is published.
Security of Tenure for the Ageing Population in Western Australia report completed and launched.

Controlling My own Life: making the most of Consumer Directed Care (CDC) Peer education program launched.

COTA takes over and administers the Mall walking program.

Active Ageing and Seniors Card information talks commence.

State Government abolished age related mandatory driving tests.


Restructure of Living Longer Living Stronger to help the programs sustainability and longevity.
Cybercrime program launched after successful grant application to Attorney General’s proceeds of crime fund.

Policy Council restructure to allow greater flexibility and response to state issues.

Employment mentoring program pilot launched.


In December 2023, COTA WA members passed two special resolutions for COTA WA to become a company limited by guarantee, with the entity becoming a wholly owned entity of COTA Australia. COTA WA remains an entity in its own right, ensuring the needs of older West Australians is at the centre of our mission and purpose.  All funding, and surpluses, are retained in COTA WA to further the COTA WA mission and purpose.