SA Policy Council
Policy Council

Policy Council

The COTA SA Policy Council is the key public policy-making committee of the Board of COTA SA.

Our members provide expertise and advice on issues of ageing to advance the rights, needs and interests of older people. This advice informs policy development within COTA SA - as well as influencing the national agenda through input into the work of COTA Australia.

Among other activities, the policy council contributes to COTA SA's work in:

  • identifying issues for policy focus and research
  • advocating for policy reforms and outcomes
  • influencing decision-makers in the government and in the community and business sectors.

Our aim is for the council to be as reflective of the diversity of older South Australians as possible. In this way, we can best represent the interests of all older people.

If you are interested in joining the council, please contact us on cotasa@cotasa.org.au.

For detailed information please see the policy council's Terms of Reference.

Current Members of the Policy Council are:


akhter rahmanAkhter Rahman

Akhter is a semi-retired practising clinical psychologist who spent over thirty years working in child protection for the Department of Human Services in SA and now works part time at a clinical practice in Norwood. She has strong interest and involvement in the arts, particularly music from her native Bangladesh and the Western tradition of jazz, folk and ballads. She is an experienced broadcaster and performer at multicultural festivals. She has been a Board member of the Multicultural Arts Commission of SA and a member of the Multicultural Performing Arts Board of the SA Department of the Arts. She has been a volunteer with Meals on Wheels since 2014 and of the Zonta Club of Adelaide since 2013.


Anne Burgess Anne Burgess (Chair)

Anne was appointed to the Board in November 2013 and is Chair of the SA Policy Council. She brings to the Board extensive experience from her career as a senior public sector bureaucrat in SA which culminated in her two year term as Acting Commissioner for Equal Opportunity from June 2010 to July 2012. She has a strong background in equal opportunity, planning, strategy and problem solving from her years at senior levels within the areas of health, mental health and the equal opportunity arena. Anne also has experience in the not for profit sector, including as Chairperson of the Board of the Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS), Board member of the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) and a member of the National Aged Care Alliance.  Anne holds a number of other positions in this state and nationally including member of the Chiropractic Board of Australia.


Barry ApseyBarry Apsey

Barry has an extensive record as a senior administrator and chief executive in the fields of justice and correctional services, emergency services, occupational health and safety, and corporate services reform. In recent years he has consulted on capacity building and strategic planning in the Pacific. Barry's positions have included managing correctional systems in Victoria and South Australia and as Director General of the Corrective Services Commission in Queensland, Chief Executive of Emergency Services in South Australia, and Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Correctional Service. He joined the policy council in 2013.

Dianne StewartDianne Stewart

Following a variety of roles in commercial and HR management, Dianne retired from the paid workforce to care for her husband after he suffered a stroke in 2001. Since then she has been actively involved with the National Stroke Foundation, Alzheimer Australia's Consumer Dementia Research Network, as a consumer representative with ECH's Consumer Reference Group and Resthaven's Community Advisory Group. In 2018 she was appointed to the Commonwealth Health Department Sub-group of Mental Health and Aged Care stakeholders. Dianne joined the Board of the Carer Support & Respite Centre in 2008. She was elected Chair of CSRC in 2012. Dianne is a passionate advocate for the recognition and advancement of family caregivers. She joined the COTA SA Policy Council in 2014 and has served as a member of COTA Australia's Innovations Projects Co-production group.

Fiona Berzins

Bio to follow

Heather SuttonHeather Sutton

Heather Sutton, before retiring, was a registered nurse & midwife for over 50 years. She trained at the Royal Adelaide Hospital commencing in 1958, then onto Sydney at King George V. She spent the last 20 years of her working life at Flinders University as an academic. Health care & its provision for the older person is continuously changing & she believes those changes must be appropriate & meet the needs of the older person. She is looking forward to working on the SA Policy Council to help see that their needs are met.

Jennifer HughesJennifer Hughes

Jenny Hughes is the Chief Executive of Catalyst Foundation and has over 30 years of executive and governance experience in the private, local and state governments and not-for-profit sector in the area of social planning, community engagement, policy and infrastructure development and management.

Jenny has worked in State and Local Governments in South Australia and the Northern Territory in leadership roles across a range of services. Jenny has significant experience and a successful track record in policy development, community consultation and engagement and the development and implementation of new services and programs. Jenny has held Board positions in the health and environmental sectors and is currently sitting on a number of committees for State and non-government agencies.

Jenny has a passion and interest in community well-being and services for rural and regional communities.

Keith Adams

Keith has worked in Country Hospitals and a Residential Aged Care Facility for 42 years, which incorporated independent living and community support services, and during this time, he has worked to improve the services and accommodation for the elderly. He has been a member of Aged and Community Services, SA and the Board of Lutheran Aged Care Australia for many years. Currently, Keith is volunteering with COTA SA, Plug-in and Catalyst Foundation as required. He has a keen interest in developing Age Friendly Communities, where the elderly are consulted, engaged and an integral part of the community, particularly in rural areas.

Kristin Johansson Kristin Johansson

Bio to follow




Marjorie Schulze OAM Marjorie Schulze OAM

Marjorie Schulze is a former Pharmacist with tertiary qualifications in Public Policy and Management. She has considerable experience in governance in the NFP sector specifically in Disability, Private Health and Aged Care. She has particular interest in opportunities for the consumer voice as an influencer of public policy.


Mike RungieMike Rungie

Dr Mike Rungie has specialised in understanding how people live well in their 70s, 80s, 90s, undertaking a variety of studies, research projects and service trials (including as a Visiting Scholar with Prof Wolf Wolfensberger, and a Churchill Fellowship).

He has led ACH Group in trialling Service Models that enable older people to not only receive high quality care, but in a way that enables high quality life (including ViTA - a teaching, re-enablement service for older people). Dr Rungie currently works with a number of organisations and networks developing scalable strategies that have citizenship and productivity for older people at the centre of what they do.

Current Boards/Committees:

  • Global Centre for Modern Ageing...director (2018-)
  • Aged Care Financing Authority...member(2016-)
  • Dunstan Foundation social capital partners group...member ( 2017-)
  • Everyage Counts coalition steering group ( auspiced by Benevolent Society)...member (2017-)
  • SAHMRI wellbeing and resilience strategic advisory board ...member( 2015-)
  • SAHMRI external stakeholder reference group...member (2014-)
  • COTA SA policy council...member (2014-)
  • Global Access Partners Standing Committee on Productive Ageing ...member (2018-)
  • Australian Aged Care Quality Agency quality and innovation awards panel...member (2017-)
  • Longevity 4.0... lead (2018-)

Pam Price

Bio to follow

Reeva Brice

Reeva Brice

Reeva became a member of the Policy Council in November 2013 and since 2008
has been a volunteer for the Strength For Life Program conducting site checks.

She has a background of over 40 years of experience in the natural therapies
industry as a Yoga Instructor, Remedial Massage Therapist, trainer/lecturer, owner
and Principal of a Massage Training School (retired 2008). Through her clinical
practice and conducting workshops with many organizations such as Parkinson's SA Inc. The Brain Injury Network, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Reeva has learned of the many difficulties people of all ages face in their daily lives and is keen to help and improve their quality of life particularly safe, affordable housing.

Over the years Reeva has served on many committees including the South Australian Massage Therapists Association (SAMTA), President 1998-02, Federation of Natural and Traditional Therapists Ltd as a Director and representative for SAMTA 1998-02, Northern Adelaide Business Enterprise Centre 1998-2004, Executive and Board member.  Since 2015 she has been COTA SA's representative on the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group and in 2016 became a member of the Active Ageing Advisory Committee, Campbelltown City Council.  She is an influencer of modern ageing via the Plug-in.


Sarah OlijnykSarah Olijnyk

Sarah Olijnyk, lives on the aged pension and owns her house in the SE which is occasionally used as short stay accommodation.

She is a former caterer and retains a strong interest in food including experience with Meals and Wheels. She is a current volunteer with Seniors in Harmony supported by Mitcham Council and is a carer for a family member. Sarah is passionately interested in supporting all those who struggle in life and has recent experience of accessing My Aged Care for home support following a hip replacement.


Sophia MatiaszSophia Matiasz

Sophia was elected to the Board in November 2011. She brings high level experience in government, consumer and business affairs from her previous work for the Commissioner and Minister for Consumer Affairs. Her work included promotion of law reform, legislative review and innovative regulatory arrangements to foster a cooperative approach by all parties to the resolution of consumer and business issues.


Sophia MatiaszStephen Merrett

Stephen has worked as an RN in the areas of aged care and mental health across inpatient, community and residential care settings. Achievements have included developing a visiting and remote consultation liaison service across country SA and the use of videoconferencing technology to provide consumer assessments and support for care staff in both the government and private sectors.

In his later working years, Stephen made the change to working with eLearning platforms and website management, gaining an appreciation of the importance of accessible learning opportunities, for a wide and increasing audience.

Vivienne SmithVivienne Smith

Vivienne was appointed to the policy council in 2014. Her work life included roles as a TAFE instructor, a Training Officer and a Welfare Officer and a small business owner. She spent 25 years working for ETSA and subsequently became the Executive Officer for the Australian Retired Persons Association (ARPA) which gave her experience in managing volunteers and involvement in activities targeted for older people. Her later career was as a florist with her own small business. Since retirement her volunteer roles have included as a volunteer counsellor for Lifeline and a First Aid trainer for St John Ambulance and the Red Cross.