As we approach the close of another impactful year, the COTA WA Board extend our heartfelt gratitude to every one of you. Your unwavering support has been the cornerstone of our achievements; together, we’ve navigated challenges, celebrated successes, and strengthened the voice of older Western Australians.

This year has been both challenging and transformative for COTA WA, and I want to express my deepest appreciation for your active participation in the 2023 Annual General Meeting. Your engagement, your voice, and your overwhelming support for the Board are testaments to the strength and unity of our community.

I am pleased to share that both Special Resolutions put forth at the recent AGM were successfully passed. These resolutions mark a pivotal moment in COTA WA’s history. COTA WA will convert from and Incorporated Association to a Company Limited by Guarantee; the process to effect this change has begun and should be completed in the first quarter of 2024. The second resolution was the adoption of a new company constitution, allowing COTA WA to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of COTA Australia.

Importantly, our objects have not changed; COTA WA exists to:

  • Provide assistance and relief to older West Australians, including those who are experiencing poverty, sickness, suffering, distress, misfortune, disability or helplessness;
  • Advance the rights, needs and interests of older West Australians in all their diversity, giving priority to those most disadvantaged or in need of help;
  • Provide advocacy and leadership on behalf of and for older people to inform and influence policy as well as the services affecting them;
  • Collaborate and/or partner with seniors’ organisations, service providers, government at all levels and the business sector to improve the health, safety and well-being of older people;
  • Develop and deliver programs and services that benefit and empower older West Australians; and
  • Support and promote research into matters affecting older people.

No other organisation in WA is best placed like COTA WA to advocate on behalf of people over 50.

I understand that these changes may elicit mixed emotions, but the Board firmly believes that they are in the best interests of COTA WA and the older Western Australians we serve. The benefits are far-reaching: enhanced access to national funding, increased collaboration with COTA Australia, operational efficiencies, and amplified advocacy impact, among others. The implementation process will be meticulous, ensuring the voices of older West Australians remain at the forefront of everything we do.

I want to acknowledge our new CEO, Mr. Mark Kinsela, who started at COTA WA in November 2023. Mark brings a wealth of experience in government relations, policy, and nonprofit leadership. Mark’s arrival has injected renewed energy and drive into the organisation, aligning perfectly with the governance changes set to usher in a new dawn for COTA WA in 2024.

Reflecting on the highlights from our 2022-23 Annual Report, it is evident that COTA WA has been at the forefront of positive change. From our advocacy through the Seniors Sector Partnership and Positive Ageing Alliance to the production of Seniors’ Guides, our Strength for Life™ program, and the WA Seniors Awards. We will continue to grow our programs and further strengthen our advocacy in 2024.

I want to acknowledge our Minister, the Hon. Don Punch MLA, and thank the Minister for his ongoing support. The Cook government this year released an inaugural 10-year whole-of-government strategy for seniors. Titled, “An Age-Friendly WA: State Seniors Strategy”, and developed by the Department of Communities, this critical strategy aims to develop programs and services to support older Western Australians to live their best life as they age. I look forward to COTA WA continuing to support the delivery of the Strategy in 2024.

I want to especially thank Chris Jeffery for his leadership and policy vision over the last 12 months as he has supported the Board throughout the year. Kairi Watty is our Strength for Life™ program Manager and she has continued to grow the program throughout 2023. I want to thank Kairi for her dedication and expertise and look forward to this program taking off in 2024.

I wish each of you a safe and joyous holiday season. I acknowledge that it can be a hard time for many, particularly as we reflect on loss or for those experiencing hardship. Our thoughts are with you during this time.

Together, let us look forward to a transformative 2024, driven by your continued engagement and support.

Thank you for being an essential part of COTA WA’s journey.

Mary Anne Stephens
Chair of the Board

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