South East Queensland Seniors Forum

In early October seniors from across the South East gathered with community, government and industry representatives to hear from experts and receive information about supports and services available to seniors in Queensland.

There was also opportunity throughout the day for seniors to contribute and share their ideas on how we can all partner for an Age-friendly Queensland.

During the morning we heard from Australian demographer, Bernard Salt AM who shared the shift he’s seeing in the way the retirement years are experienced.

“For years (decades, even), I have been speaking about the transitioning of the baby boomer generation into their ‘retirement years’ and now what I am calling The Great Contentment, which by many measures is emerging as a sweet spot in the Australian lifecycle,” said Bernard.

We also heard from Patricia Sparrow, Chief Executive of the Council on the Ageing (COTA) who spoke about what it means to be cared for.

Emeritus Professor Roland (Roly) Sussex, OAM, shared about the importance of language in an age-friendly community.

Detective Senior Sergeant Debbie Phillips, State Disability and Elder Abuse Coordinator for the Queensland Police Service (QPS) spoke about QPS services and supports available for older people and the journey to establish an elder abuse team within the QPS Vulnerable Persons Unit.

A panel featuring representatives from Redland City Council, the University of Queensland and Brisbane North Primary Health Networks discussed where we are at in building an age-friendly state.

The afternoon was capped off by Geoff Rowe, Chief Executive Officer, Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia discussing the importance of self-advocacy and protecting your rights as you get older and how to access advice and support.

We thank all who attended and tuned in to the livestream. We’ll be posting the video of the event in the coming weeks so make sure you check back.

The South-East Queensland Seniors Forum was part of the state-wide celebrations for Queensland Seniors Month (1-31 October). Find out more about Seniors Month.

9.30am Welcome
Jean McRuvie, COTA Queensland Chair
9.40am Acknowledgement of Country
9.55am Opening address
The Hounourable Craig Crawford MP, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Seniors and Disability Services
10.15am Reimagining ageing in Queensland
Bernard Salt AM, Australian Demographer
11.00am Morning tea break
11.30am Being cared for
Patricia Sparrow, Chief Executive, Council on the Ageing Australia
12.00pm The importance of language in an age-friendly community
Emeritus Professor Roland (Roly) Sussex, OAM, FQA, Chevalier des Palmes Académiques
12.30pm Lunch break
1.15pm A celebration of older people through poetry
Everybody NOW!
1.30pm Be an advocate
Detective Senior Sergeant Debbie Phillips, State Disability & Elder Abuse Coordinator, Queensland Police Service
1.45pm Panel discussion: Are we age-friendly?
Redland City Council
University of Queensland
Brisbane South Primary Health Network
Brisbane North Primary Health Network
2.15pm Are you ‘ageing well’ in Queensland?
Heidi Olsen, Australian Catholic University
3.00pm Afternoon tea break
3.15pm Know your rights: supports and services
Geoff Rowe, Chief Executive Officer, Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia
3.45pm Reflections and feedback
3.55pm Closing remarks
4.00pm Forum closes

Bernard Salt AM

Bernard Salt is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading social commentators.

He has written six popular best-selling books, hosted a television show “The Next Five Years” on Sky NEWS Business and hosted the top-rated podcast “What Happens Next”.

After a 20-year career as a partner in a global advisory firm, Bernard founded The Demographics Group to provide advice to business on demographic, social and property trends.

He is best known to the wider community for his penchant for identifying new social behaviours including ‘the goat’s cheese curtain’.

Bernard has been a columnist with The Australian newspaper for more than 20 years. His column in The Weekend Australian Magazine is highly regarded and widely read.

Patricia Sparrow

Patricia leads the peak body for older Australians, taking a constructive approach to building an inclusive and bright future for older people. Her goal is to eliminate ageism, which should be as socially unacceptable as sexism and racism. Studying ageism as part of her Bachelor in Social Sciences, she was inspired to volunteer in homecare, and do meals runs. She cried when an older woman held on to her hand and asked her to stay because she had not seen anyone that day, and anyone young in a long time. Committed to building a more inclusive Australia that appreciates and welcomes the contribution of older people, Patricia’s career spans community, disability, and aged care, health, and advocacy roles.

She has experience from the perspective of not-for-profit, public service, advocacy, ministerial office, and most importantly, as a support to her own ageing family members. Patricia centres her work on the value of older people. Everyone deserves the benefit of older people we love in our lives. She has worked consistently to improve the choice and control older people have in their own lives, working to reform aged care to fund the individual’s care, rather than the provider, and following through to make sure the system works.

Emeritus Professor Roland (Roly) Sussex, OAM

Roly is a ‘retired’ university linguist and public intellectual who specialises in language, communication and culture, and more recently in communication about pain. He has been broadcasting on ABC Radio about language in Queensland and South Australia for more than 20 years, and he speaks frequently at meetings of community groups in South East Queensland.

Detective Senior Sergeant Debra Philips

Detective Senior Sergeant Debra Phillips is the State Disability and Elder Abuse Coordinator and part of the Queensland Police Domestic Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Command.

She has over 32 years of policing experience, including 23 years as a practicing Detective and Domestic Violence Coordinator.

She is passionate about keeping people safe, particularly the vulnerable, and holding perpetrators of violence accountable.

She understands the value in collaboration, and has expertise in Domestic Violence Specialist Courts, legislative amendments and embedding detectives into domestic violence investigations are amongst some of her achievements. She is the first female to be awarded Gold Coast Police Officer of the year and holds a Graduate Certificate in Domestic Violence Prevention.

Geoff Rowe

Geoff is CEO of Aged and Disability Advocacy (ADA) Australia, a Queensland based advocacy and human rights service.

Geoff is Chairperson of the Public Trustee Advisory and Monitoring Board, member of the Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board and member of the Notifications and Immediate Action Committees of the Medical Board of Australia.

In 2018, Geoff was awarded the prestigious Paul Tys Churchill Fellowship to examine world’s best practice in preventing and responding to elder abuse in aged care and the community. He has a strong interest in human rights and social justice.

Dr. Heidi Olsen

Dr Heidi Olsen is the Research Program Manager of Healthy Ageing at Australian Catholic University. She holds a PhD in Applied Psychology and has extensive experience in designing and delivering research across academic and commercial environments. Heidi is passionate about finding new ways to understand and improve health and wellbeing across the lifespan, for all sectors of community.