COTA ACT E-NEWS (July 2019)

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In the loop header
July 2019

Welcome to the July edition of In the Loop

Each month we will bring you articles, updates and events of interest to keep you in the loop with what is happening in Canberra. 


In this edition:

  • Get assistance navigating the aged care system
  • Protect yourself from the flu
  • COTA ACT/U3A Lunchtime forums
  • Free bus tour - Summerfield Estate Braidwood
  • Matters of the heart - free information session
  • Dying to know day - talking about end of life care
  • Interested in financial support or counselling?
  • Employment opportunities at Canberra Labor Club
  • Weekend bus service update
  • Free information session - neighbourhood disputes
  • Gambling support study
  • What to consider when switching to the nbn
  • Big Book Fair

Need assistance exploring your housing options or navigating aged care?


We can help!

COTA ACT can provide you with free, individual advice and assistance on:

  • Your housing options - including downsizing/home modifications, retirement villages, accessing home help/community support and accessing appropriate public and private housing
  • The aged care system - including registering for MyAgedCare, understanding types of assessments and packages, options available for residential aged care and home care packages, transitioning between different levels of aged care support and your rights and responsibilities.
Contact COTA ACT on 6282 3777 and make an appointment with our Housing Options Advisor or a volunteer aged care navigator. 
Protect yourself and your family from the flu

Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect you and your family from getting the flu this winter.

The vaccine is free in the ACT for people 65 years of age and older. The free vaccine is available at:
  • General Practitioners (GPs)
  • some pharmacies – go to to find out where
  • Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service.
Note: While the vaccine is government-funded, some GPs, pharmacists and other immunisation providers may charge a consultation fee for administering the vaccine. You should check this at the time of booking.
Know the facts about the flu vaccine
It’s important to get vaccinated every year. The flu vaccine changes each year to cover the different strains that are expected to circulate in the community.

The flu vaccine cannot give you influenza. The normal side effects of the vaccine sometimes feel like early flu symptoms. The side effects are a sign the vaccine is triggering an immune response, which is what it’s designed to do.

Even healthy people can get the flu. The flu can also be very serious for some people, and if you get it, you can spread it to others. Protect yourself and the people around you by getting vaccinated.

Stay home if you are sick
Cover your coughs and sneezes with your inner elbow, put used tissues in the bin, and wash your hands often.
If you or anyone in your family has flu-like symptoms and needs medical care:
  • visit your GP
  • visit a free Walk-in Centre in Gungahlin, Belconnen or Tuggeranong, open 7 days a week 7.30am to 10pm
  • call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222
  • call the National Home Doctor Service on 137 425.
Learn more about influenza and where to get your vaccination at 

What caused my cough?

ABC News has published an informative article giving information about your cough, when and how coughs should be treated and when to be concerned about your cough. 

Read the article here:  



COTA ACT / U3A lunchtime forums

The U3A / COTA ACT lunch time forums are now into their 20th year of operation.


The forum presentations are on a range of interesting topics from subject matter experts. More recently presentations have been made by Mark Kenny, a former Fairfax journalist on recent federal election outcomes and a talk on Brexit by Anne McNaughton from ANU. 

There have also been speakers who addressed some of the bigger issues facing Australia including climate change, counter terrorism/security issues, the immigration policy and procedures and planning in the ACT for future growth of the city of Canberra.


You can see the upcoming forums on the U3A website:

Next week (30 July) the topic is: Why are people disengaged with politics and what do the numbers indicate? What are possible solutions? by Dr Jill Sheppard Lecturer, School of Politics & International Relations at ANU. 


Tuesday Lunchtime forums are held each Tuesday from 12:30pm. Entry fee is $2. Tea and coffee available but please bring your own cup.


Please note: Tuesday lunchtime forums have seen unprecedented demand in 2019. Seating is first in best dressed and we recommend to arrive early. Due to fire regulations, we are unable to allow access beyond the stated capacity (140 people). If, in the unfortunate case, you are turned away, please be respectful to staff and volunteers.



Free bus tour - Summerfield Estate Braidwood


COTA ACT has partnered with Summerfield Over 55s Estate in Braidwood to put on a free bus tour to visit the estate and see what Braidwood has to offer. 

Get the free bus from the Hughes Community Centre and travel to Braidwood where you can visit the local farmers markets and explore the town before being taken up to Summerfield Estate for a site tour, free sausage sizzle and refreshments and find out information about the Estate.


When: Saturday 28 September, pick up 10am

RSVP: essential by Mon 2 September to Adam: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0432 125 242. 



Matters of the heart; risk factors, warning signs and management of cardiac events


Heart Support Australia and COTA ACT are hosting a free seminar with Senior Clinical Scientist Shoukat Khan.

With over 35 years' experience in the health sector and a passion for cardiovascular pathology testing and research, Shoukat has been working with Heart Support Australia to better educate the public on heart health through the Healthy Heart Program.

In this seminar you can expect to learn about the risk factors and warning signs associated with cardiac events. Shoukat will also explore concepts of self-management and how individuals can improve their long-term health outcomes after experiencing a cardiac event.

Light refreshments will be provided

Please register your attendance and outline any dietary requirements


When: Wednesday 14 August, 1.30pm - 2.30pm 

Where: Hughes Community Centre, 2 Wisdom Street, Hughes

Cost: Free


Dying to Know Day: Talking about death won’t kill you


A free forum to discuss, plan and take charge of end-of-life care.

Advance Care Planning Program, ACT Government Canberra Health Services and Health Care Consumers Association will guide table conversations and stalls with government and community agencies. All questions are welcome.

Refreshments provided.


When: Thursday 8 August, 1:00-2:30pm

Where:  Hughes Community Centre, Wisdom St, Hughes

RSVP: By 1 August to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Phone: 02 5124 9274


Interested in getting financial support or counseling?
Care Inc is a community organisation that provides:
  1. Financial counselling
  2. Microfinance (no interest loans)
  3. Community development and education
  4. The Consumer Law Centre of the ACT
Are you interested in Care attending COTA ACT for financial counselling appointments or an information session? Let us know on 6282 3777 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and, if we have enough interest, we will get some times set up.  
Did you know - aged pensioners are entitled to a rebate on land rates? 
Are you aware of the ACT Government's Rates Deferral (Pensioner) Scheme? The Government also offers a broader Rates Deferral (Aged) Scheme which is available for people over 65 who have at least 75% equity in their home
Care Financial can also assist if gambling is an issue for you (or someone close to you), if you are in public or community housing or experiencing homelessness. 
If you have traffic fines they have a program where you can work off your debt - attendance at financial counselling can reduce your fines by $50 per hour. Voluntary work at St Vinnies also earns money off fines. 
The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) provides loans up to $1,500 for people on low income for household appliances, car repair, electronic goods and medical aids.  (You must have a Health Care or Pension Card or earn less than $60,000 to be eligible). 
The Consumer Law Centre of the ACT is a community legal centre providing free legal advice and representation in the areas of consumer credit (mortgages, credit cards and personal loans), debt recovery, banking, contracts, fair trading and consumer protection.
If you feel like any Care services may be useful to you, contact them on 6257 1788. 
Looking for work? The Canberra Labor Club is hiring across multiple venues

You will work in many areas of the club including bar, gaming, functions and reception.

What you need:

  • A “can do” attitude
  • Enjoy working with people
  • Work well in a busy environment
  • Have an interest in hospitality and service
  • RSA certificate*

Please send your resume to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or pop in to any of our four venues across Canberra and complete an application form (your resume will need to be attached).

*If you do not have an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate, you can go online and obtain one before commencing work (cost is approx. $70).  You do not need an RSA certificate to apply.



Weekend bus service update


Transport Canberra acknowledge they are experiencing some teething issues on weekends due to the need to recruit more bus drivers.
Recruitment is currently underway but in the meantime some bus services will be disrupted this weekend as they work to recruit more drivers to enable us to cover all timetabled services. 
Information on weekend services is available and we urge passengers to look at the NXTBUS website which provides real time service information (within a 90 minute window), or contact us on 13 17 10 where Transport Canberra can help plan weekend trips as operators have information on what services run.
  Free Information Sessions - Neighbourhood Disputes


Legal Aid is holding a series of free information sessions at Neighbourhood Disputes.

This session is targeted directly at people experiencing a dispute with a neighbour, however you are more than welcome to attend.  It will be presented by the Environmental Defenders' Office. The first three sessions will focus on specific areas of law around neighbourhood disputes as well as the process for going to ACAT to resolve a dispute. The final sessions will cover multiple areas such as privacy, trespass, tress, noise, fences etc. and ACAT.

To RSVP: Call the Helpline on 1300 654 314 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • 7 August 4pm to 5pm: Trees in the ACT
  • 18 September 4pm to 5pm: Noise in the ACT
  • 16  October 4pm to 5pm: Fences in the ACT
  • 13 November 4pm to 5pm: General neighbourhood disputes.

Where: Legal Aid ACT 2 Allsop Street Canberra City

Cost: FREE


  Gambling support study


ANU is currently recruiting participants for a new project called the Gambling Support Study. The study is seeking to understand how women who have partners (or a close family member) with a gambling problem may experience indirect harms, and to further understandings of why partners of gamblers rarely seek formal help. This qualitative study will involve interviewing approx. 30 women in the ACT and NSW.

Here are links to the project:


Switching to the NBN
With much of Canberra connected to, or being in the process of connecting to the NBN, now is a good time to think about switching over (if you haven't already).
COTA ACT has put together an information sheet with some useful issues to consider before switching. Download the information sheet here
A reminder that you should ignore any calls or door knockers who tell you you must immediately connect to the NBN or you will be disconnected.  Scammers are increasingly taking the opportunity to impersonate NBN Co and take advantage of consumers, including those living in retirement villages.


NBN Co will never make unsolicited calls or door knock to sell broadband services. NBN Co may make calls to individuals registered on our Medical Alarm or Fire and Lift registers but will never request payment or bank account details during these calls.


Advice from NBN Co:

  • Residents and businesses should be aware that NBN Co will never make unsolicited calls or door knock to sell broadband services. NBN Co is the company building and operating Australia’s wholesale broadband network and as a wholesale-only company, it does not sell broadband packages directly to residents or businesses.
  • If something seems suspicious, NBN Co urges people to contact their phone or internet provider.
  • Once the NBN access network is switched on in an area, residents and businesses have 18 months to contact a phone or internet provider to order an NBN powered plan before most existing landline phone and internet services are disconnected.  This is to ensure people have time to speak to their preferred provider to discuss their individual needs for internet speeds and usage.

Tips to avoid scammers:

  • Always ask yourself whether the person or business that’s contacted you out of the blue is who they say they are.
  • Verify the identity of the contact through an independent source. Don’t use the contact details provided by the caller or in the message sent to you.
  • Never send money, give your banking or credit card details or other personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust, and never by email or over the phone.
  • Know that a government agency or trusted business will never ask you to pay them with gift or store cards, iTunes cards, wire transfers or bitcoin.
  • Never give anyone remote access to your computer if they’ve contacted you unexpectedly – whether through a phone call, pop up window or email.
  • Keep personal information secure online - change passwords often, don’t give credit card details to websites that aren’t secure, do not send copies of passports/drivers licenses to third parties that you did not contact yourself.
Save the date
 COTA ACT will be hosting a free public information session on:
 Connecting to the nbn network


When: Wednesday 11 September, 1.00pm to 3.00pm

Where: Hughes Community Centre, 2 Wisdom St, Hughes 

The session will focus on issues you should consider before connecting to the nbn network.  Participants will also be able to discuss individual issues with nbn representatives after the presentation.

Light refreshments will be provided.

You can register for the information session:


BIG Book Fair

It’s that time of the year again and Woden Seniors’ BIG Book Fair is just around the corner. Whether you are a fiction fanatic, an avid baker in search of some recipe books, a history enthusiast, a music aficionado, a lover of romance novels, looking for children’s books, or a serious collector, be sure to save the date.

The Club will be filled with a huge range of quality books, as well as magazines, games, puzzles, vinyl records, CDs and DVDs and beautiful water colour paintings – all for sale at our usual very low prices. In fact all DVDs, CDs and children’s books will only be $1 each.

 Entry is by gold coin donation.

There is limited free parking at the Club


When: 9,10,11 August, 10am-4pm

Where: 12 Corinna St Woden