COTA SA's State Budget Submission in focus
Priority Five: Social Connections and Digital Inclusion
Invisible yet prevalent, social and digital exclusion has become a pressing issue for older people, especially in the wake of the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic. Staying connected to the community and active in mind and body is important for maintaining overall health and well-being. This can be achieved by improving access to technology, transportation, and support when significant changes are experienced, such as moving homes, retirement, or the illness or death of a loved one.
This is even more significant for vulnerable groups, such as the LGBTI+ community, due to the fear of discrimination. In our engagement with older people living in metropolitan as well as regional South Australia, we have heard how the lack of digital access further impacts social isolation and access to services and information.
To address these concerns, COTA SA has highlighted the following recommendations to the State Government:
- Provide funding to COTA SA's Rainbow Hub for LGBTI+ people aged 50+ to connect and share their stories, advice, feedback, and advocacy, including in regional South Australia.
- Fund a digital inclusion strategy to raise awareness of digital facilities available, understand barriers in the use of services, and ensure access to public internet sites, with a focus on older people from CALD and refugee communities.
- Contribute to digital literacy programs for people over 50, delivered via the Be Connected grants program, on a pro-rata basis for South Australia.
- Fund COTA SA to deliver peer education to increase public transport use, which includes identifying barriers and assisting people in mastering digital applications.
Read more about these recommendations and other priorities in the COTA SA 2023/24 State Budget Submission.