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ISSN 10353615

Celebrating 80 years of service

September 2012

Keep on dobbing in Nursing Home fire traps

ANOTHER domino has fallen. CPSA congratulates the NSW Government for making fire sprinkler systems mandatory in all NSW nursing homes, following the lead of Victoria and Queensland. Aged care facilities will be given eighteen months to retrofit sprinklers. Providers who can’t meet that time frame will be given until January 2016 to 1

complete the work and will be required to submit sixmonthly progress reports. This gives NSW aged care providers more than three years to retrofit nursing homes that, incredibly in this day and age, still rely on frail and mobility-impaired people getting out quick smart in case of fire. That doesn’t always work. The Quakers Hill Nursing

September 2012

Home Fire is testimony to that. CPSA has led the call for South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, the ACT and Tasmania to move now and make fire sprinkler systems mandatory for nursing homes in their jurisdictions, too. Alternatively, the Federal Government could, with the stroke of a pen, make fire

sprinkler systems mandatory throughout the country. Needless to say, aged care providers have voiced their concern that all this retrofitting is going to be too costly. The NSW Government ignored the aged care industry’s calls for financial assistance. The NSW Government took the Federal Continued page 8


Letters CPSA Executive (as at 2.11.2011)

Grace Selway OAM CPSA President Bob Jay CPSA Secretary Betty Chamberlain CPSA Treasurer Bill Holland Senior Vice President Assistant Treasurer George Ray Vice President Sue Latimer Assistant Secretary Shirley Bains Janet Coxon Margaret Craven-Scott Jim Grainda Marie Mihell Colin Vernon



Phone: 1800 451 488 Fax: (02) 9281 9716 Email: Production: Amelia Christie, Antoine Mangion, Emma Cheyne & Paul Versteege Printer: MPD, Unit E1, 46-62 Maddox Street, Alexandria NSW 2015 All content prepared by the editorial and production team with reference to stories on AAP newswire, unless indicated.

THE VOICE CPSA, Level 9, 28 Foveaux St Surry Hills NSW 2010

Letters are personal views only and do not necessarily reflect CPSA policy. Ed.

Grave aged care concerns I was very pleased to read the issue on nursing homes and fire sprinklers. CPSA is one of the watch dog movements we so need. I have been in Sydney for the last two months (from Yeppoon) and saw with concern on ABC’s 7.30 Report a story on the horrific death of a frail aged lady in a low care aged care facility. She was in a room where the bed had grab poles on each side, to allow her to get into and out of bed more easily. Her room door was opened at 4.00 am, and the mattress was on the floor, and the lady herself, if I am correct, was said to have her head caught in the pole. The person who opened the door, assumed the resident was dead, and closed the door, which was not opened again until 5.00 am when a staff member came on duty. The relatives were horrified that this was the situation,

No responsibility is accepted for the accuracy of information contained in advertisements or text supplied by other organisations or individuals and/or typographical errors. CPSA does not support or promote the products or views in paid advertising. 2

the case where I attend, with 50% high care people in low care facilities, frail aged, some dementia, and a number in wheel chairs. Some are so ill, and have to be fed away from the dining room. Some are passing away in low care. Not good enough. It would be of particular interest to know if those now high care residents in low care facilities, are being funded at high care rates by the government. If that is so, it is quite shocking, in my opinion ,that no additonal staff are required to be hired. I once heard a financial expert address a large meeting on such organisations, saying, “not for profit does not mean they do not make a profit”. Needless to say, the existing staff in low care are over-worked, caring for high care residents and all that involves, with not a cent extra in pay. They are working in conditions they were not

Donations, Bequests, Membership and THE VOICE subscriptions Membership is open to all who support the aims and objectives of CPSA


fearing the lady may still have been alive when the room door was first opened. The program went on to say that the government allows up to 50% of residents who were low care, but who have become high care, to remain in low care, but no additional staff are required to be hired. In the case of the 7.30 Report, it was said the nurse on duty at the time was a nurse whose registration had expired. I am feeding an 83 year old lady here in Yeppoon, lunch every day, a typical such person, on the blind pension, and with dementia. She was a low care resident, but has now become classified as high care, but is still in low care. I have to feed her daily, as there are no staff to do it; if I don’t, she cannot eat as she has only one hand able to hold a spoon. Meals at the dining table are put before her, but are taken away uneaten if I am not there. This is certainly

I’d like to renew my Membership or join CPSA as a Member and enclose my individual Membership fee of $12 (Includes a free annual subscription to THE VOICE, valued at $25.00). I agree to be bound by the CPSA Constitution and uphold the Objectives and Policies of CPSA. I support the CPSA Objectives. I have not previously been expelled from CPSA or, if I have been expelled, I have attached a copy of my CPSA Executive exemption. Please send me information about my nearest Branch. I do not wish to join CPSA but would like to subscribe to THE VOICE (1 year—$25.00 incl. GST). I belong to an organisation and would like information about how we can become a Branch or an Affiliate of CPSA. (NB: Branches are covered by CPSA’s $10 million Public Liability Insurance). I wish to make a donation of $______ (All donations above $2 are tax deductible). Please send me information about THE VOICE gift subscriptions.

I wish to make a bequest to CPSA in my Will. Please send me information. Name:_____________________________________________________________________________ Address:___________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________State:_____________Postcode:__________ Phone: ______________________________Email:_________________________________________ Payment details (for credit card): Visa Mastercard Name on card:__________________________Card Number:___________________Expiry:_________ Amount:______________________ Signature:_____________________________________________ Please send to: CPSA, Level 9, 28 Foveaux St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

September 2012


Letters hired to do. At the very least, the public need to know about this, which I hope you may consider exploring and making known. Trevor Green, Yeppoon, Qld An oxymoron in Newcastle In Newcastle, $94 million has been earmarked for a new state courthouse development which the legal community says is the wrong design on the wrong site and an independent planner has rejected due to unsatisfactory traffic impacts. $65 million will be spent on refurbishing the former Newcastle Post Office for no obvious purpose. $10 to $15 million will be spent to relocate the Callaghan traffic congestion on top of the Honeysuckle congestion. Who are we trying to please? I see a lot of smiling developers but nobody else. I feel an oxymoron coming on. Let’s build a courthouse with no parking beside a railway station. Then we’ll cut the rail at a cost of $700 million. Then all the surfboards, strollers, pushbikes and those people too disabled, old or young to drive can make their way up to the Surfest and Fat as Butter festivals on a bus. I wonder how many surfboards they can get on a bus in peak times. George Paris North Rathmines, NSW

Unanderra derailed At the recent meeting of the South Coast Area Council, it was resolved unanimously that I should again remind the Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian, and the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, of the disappointment of my fellow delegates at the total disregard shown in the matter of lifts for Unanderra station, thus declaring their attitude to treat senior citizens, along with all others so affected by their neglect, as second class citizens. We have noted in the press that the Premier has stated Unanderra will be apportioned along with other areas. We consider Unanderra to be as deserving as any other area. How many more citizens would use Unanderra station if they only had reasonable access? To we disadvantaged locals it is not very hard to imagine. No doubt a lot of money has been taken from this project to go towards the shiny new station at Flinders, with lifts as per the artist’s impression in The Mercury. This will no doubt make the people in Mr Ward’s electorate smile broadly while the many in Unanderra and surrounds can never raise a smile after being shoved aside for over 16 years. If, after Government apportioning, Unanderra has a position anywhere near the top, we would be delighted to have the Transport Minister’s advice. It was also resolved that

I bring to the Minister’s attention the overcrowded situation in the carpark at Dapto Station (quite a few from Unanderra no doubt). In the mornings anyone wishing to travel after 7am has to search for a car space. We hope that the Transport Minister can bring some good news to our harassed travellers in the near future. Eric Stevenson Secretary South Coast Area Council Single-sex wards an issue, hotline or no hotline At the meeting of the Orana Branch of CPSA held on 10 August, Members were exteremely disappointed to read in THE VOICE that the hotline for single sex wards in hospitals has now been abolished due to lack of interest with only 55 calls. Our Members were unaware that a hotline existed. This is not because we are uninterested but rather, somehow, missed the publicity. Dubbo has been promised a new hospital and we have had the promise of Health Minister Jilian Skinner that this new hospital will have segregated wards. The construction of this hospital is to start very soon and we will be very upset if the bed allocation reverts to Florence Nightingale days. Let us have institutions built for the 21st century please. Joan Teale Secretary Orana CPSA

Send a letter to THE VOICE THE VOICE, CPSA Level 9, 28 Foveaux St Surry Hills NSW 2010

You must include your name and suburb/town for the letter to be published, though these may be omitted in publication if the letter contains personal information. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. September 2012

Deaf and hardof-hearing to get subsidised vibrating smoke alarms THE SMOKE Alarm Subsidy Scheme (SASS) provides subsidised visual and tactile smoke alarms for people living in NSW who are deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing. While average smoke alarms cost around $50, the more elaborate alarms required for those that are hard of hearing can cost up to $500. These alarms have a vibrating pad that goes under one’s pillow that is connected to a wall mounted smoke detector. They also activate strobe lights in the event of a fire. Last month, NSW Ageing and Disability Minister, Andrew Constance, announced a $2 million subsidy program in which hearing impaired and deaf people will pay $50 for an alarm. Pensioners and those facing economic hardship will be able to obtain an alarm at no cost. The scheme is expected to distribute 3,500 alarms throughout NSW. To find out more or to apply for the Smoke Alarm Subsidy Scheme contact the Deaf Society of NSW on (02) 8833 3600 or email smokealarms@

CPSA - who we are CPSA was founded in 1931 in response to pension cuts. CPSA is a non-profit, non-party-political membership association which serves pensioners of all ages, superannuants and low-income retirees. The aim of CPSA is to improve the standard of living and well-being of its Members and constituents. 1800 451 488


Members’ page CPSA Merchandise

Badges Membership : pin Membership: magnet Title Bar* + pendant Title Bar* Pendant (*except Welfare Officer Asst Soc. Sec.) Cards Membership card Waratah card

Garden of Remembrance $4.50 $4.50 $9.00 $5.00 $4.00 $10.15 $16.15

Sylvia Dawn Ewart, Secretary of Cooma Branch, recently passed away. Sylvia was also a past President of our Branch. She was the prime force in the group.

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Ivy Graham, 10/12/1918 – 4/6/2012, of Toongabbie Senior Citizens Association, has passed away. She was a dearly beloved Member for many years. ~ Rest in Peace ~

Card wallet $3.30 Certificate (80/90 years/Appreciation) $1.10 Emergency medical information book $2.00 Leather key ring $5.50 Letter opener: silver $10.00 Do Not Knock Sticker FREE for individuals* Tea caddy spoon $4.40 Please add postage to all items. *A small fee may apply to bulk orders.

Condition of CPSA Membership According to the NSW Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (Schedule 1, clause 11(1)(a) and Appendix 1 based on Clause 3(1)), it is a condition of your ongoing CPSA membership that you agree to comply with CPSA’s Constitution including Aims & Objectives. If you have any questions or would like a copy of the Constitution, please call Head Office on 1800 451 488.

I’d always been a union member so when retirement came, I wondered “is there a union to suit me?” There was and there is. It’s called CPSA. At the time I was a keen member of the local bushwalking club. During breaks we talked about Government policies as they related to seniors. The GST had just been introduced and it seemed to many in the group that the views of older people needed to be listened to. As there was no CPSA Branch in our town, we bushwalkers decided to act. CPSA Head Office offered encouragement. We approached the deputy mayor who became our sponsor. The CPSA President chaired our inaugural meeting. We quickly had a Branch Executive of people keen to be involved. I was interested in how CPSA worked 4

September 2012

CPSA Constitution THE CPSA Constitution with updates from the 2011 AGM is available on our website. Visit and click ‘About Us’. If you would like a prinited copy call Head Office on 1800 451 488. Head Office News

THE e-VOICE is available on the internet. Visit our website,, and sign up at THE VOICE - Subscribe

Why I joined CPSA

President of Cooma Branch, Norah Lovell Johnson recently passed away. Norah was a great supporter of THE VOICE.

Head Office News is sent to all Branch Secretaries, Presidents and Treasurers with the instruction to read it aloud to the Branch meeting. Every Branch Member is also entitled to receive a copy. If you would like a copy, please call Head Office on 1800 451 488. Donations CPSA is grateful for all donations. Due to lack of space, the following only includes donations above $35 received since the last edition of THE VOICE: P. Lenton Lismore CPSA Stanmore-Petersham Dance Club

Friends of CPSA

and on a few occasions represented the Branch at CPSA Council meetings in Sydney. The biggest eye-opener for me was the CPSA Annual Conference. More than 80 women and men representing their Branches came from around the state to meet, debate and form policies that were to be put to Government. The NSW Minister for Ageing opened the Conference and it was obvious that Governments accept CPSA as a key organisation speaking out on behalf of its Members and constituents. I was also impressed that CPSA had its representatives advocating for CPSA policy in the papers, on TV and the radio in response to proposals put forward by Governments of all persuasions. When I moved closer to Sydney I was elected to the CPSA Executive. I am impressed with the dedication of the Executive members and the office holders I’ve come to know in

$100 $150 $2,167.08

the last 12 or so years. They are determined to improve the lot of pensioners, superannuants and lowincome retirees. Sadly some have passed on but their achievements inspire me to continue to try to make a worthwhile contribution to CPSA. CPSA Members and Branches should be proud of their achievements: the latest, in 2012, being the Government’s announcement that sprinklers will become compulsory in nursing homes, and the defeat of the suggestion by the Australian Productivity Commission to induce the Government to force the sale of the homes of people needing aged care. There are three or four groups in NSW which claim to represent seniors. The reason I joined and stay with CPSA is because CPSA is RIDGY-DIDGE and TRUE-BLUE. In my opinion, the others are what I call Claytons.


Members’ news Generous Donations Namoi Valley Independent, 20 June 2012 A GENEROUS legacy, bequeathed to the Gunnedah CPSA Branch by the late Bill Rolph, has benefitted Gunnedah Hospital and Lundie House. The Branch has donated $5,636 to Gunnedah Hospital towards the cost of two light-weight ArjoHuntleigh Enterprise 5000 hospital beds, designed to minimise risks associated with hospital beds. The beds can be lowered to a height of 30cm, which Nurse Unit Manager Katrina O’Brien said reduces the risk of injury through falls. The beds are designed for good infection control and

ergonomics, enhanced safety and ease of use. The controls are positioned for easy access and the bed can be raised or lowered to various positions as required. Mrs O’Brien said the beds had been on her ‘wish list’ for some time and she was very grateful to the Branch for its contribution. Lundie House at Gunnedah Aged Care Services has also received a welcome gift of $2,671.51 to purchase a standard ambulatory syringe driver, which provides a continuous infusion of drugs over a determined period of time, or at a given rate. The device is widely used for palliative care and longterm therapy. Gunnedah CPSA President

Gunnedah Secretary Jan Snow, [then] President Shirley Anderson and Treasurer Julie Smith with a bed purchased with the Branch’s donation from Bill Rolph’s bequest.

Shirley Anderson said the donations had been given from Mr Rolph’s legacy and the Members feel they have carried out his wishes. Milestone for Gunnedah CPSA Members By Ashley Swain, Namoi Valley Independent, March 2012 AS PART of the Gunnedah’s Seniors Week celebrations, a presentation of certificates was made to the over 80s and 90s senior citizens at the Smithurst Theatre. The group were presented with their certificates by Mayor Adam Marshall and announced by the [then] President of Gunnedah CPSA, Shirley Anderson. Reaching the 80s milestone were Shirley Corliss, Lyn

Gunnedah Mayor Adam Marshall (top right) with certificate recipients for 80 and 90 years.

Welfare groups face the razor to vital funds THE NSW Government is taking the razor to a number of major community service organisations according to the Sydney Morning Herald (16 August 2012). At least seven organisations, including the Welfare Rights Centre, Redfern Legal Centre’s financial counselling service and Lifeline (Sydney and Sutherland) are set to face reduced funding following an internal review by the Department of Family

and Community Services obtained by the Herald. The Department is looking to reduce costs to meet efficiency and salary cap targets. Because these organisations have been deemed to not meet the two new main functions of the Department – early intervention of foster care placement; and community building – they are facing cuts so that the Government can meet its savings targets. The document obtained

September 2012

Boyd, Milda Maroney, Gwen Campbell, Dot George, Marie O’Donnell and Mona Cruze. Receiving certificates for the admirable achievement of reaching the age of 90 were Anne Foster, Sadie Hayes, Daphne Elliott, Betty Scott and George Guest. Sadie Hayes and George Guest were invited to cut the cake for the presentation. “These citizens are so knowledgeable, they have so much history and are lovely to speak to,” said Gunnedah CPSA [then] President, Shirley Anderson. Mayor Adam Marshall congratulated the group on reaching their milestones. “We have a lot to learn from their generation,” Cr Marshall said.

by the Herald, entitled FACS Community Services Division: further saving strategies, recommended that seven organisations should be considered for having their services defunded. In most instances, it noted, ending the service would result in greater demand being put on other services. It was also unclear whether alternatives existed in many cases. The Department did not respond to questions 1800 451 488

put to it by the Herald, however, in a statement it said that it was assessing the recommendations. CEO of the Welfare Rights Centre, Marie O’Halloran, told the Herald that the $404,000 a year loss from Community Services could mean the Centre would have to close. Meanwhile, operators of Lifeline, Wesley Mission, said that the loss of their funding would prevent them from training counsellors.


CPSA Member Benefit


September 2012


AGM & Conference 2012

Nominations for CPSA Executive In accordance with CPSA Constitution Rule 8.3.2 this announcement serves as the required notice in THE VOICE calling for nominations of candidates for election to the CPSA Executive. Nominations must be: • submitted on the official form • signed by proposer, seconder and nominee • accompanied by a Curriculum Vitae • received before the deadline (outlined on the form) by the CPSA Returning Officer at 9 Gillis St, Dubbo NSW 2830. Nomination forms have been circulated to all Branches and Area Councils. If you would like a copy of the nomination form, please contact Head Office on 1800 451 488.

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Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW Inc. (CPSA)


Level 9, 28 Foveaux St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010


Free! Morning tea and lunch provided


11, 12 and 13 September 2012


10 am - 4 pm

If you’re interested please contact Habib or Barbara on (02) 9281 3588 or 1800 451 488 or by email: by 7 September 2012

September 2012

1800 451 488


CPSA Campaigns represented on the ACFA Government’s comments Board and has also come out about fire safety being a calling for South Australia, Australia, the state responsibility at face Western Territory, the value and simply imposed Northern mandatory sprinklers, noting ACT and Tasmania to make that aged care funding is a sprinklers mandatory in nursing homes. Federal responsibility. If you think that this is When you think about cheap politicking, maybe it, the reasons prompting to make you are right, but the NSW Governments Government is not imposing sprinkler systems mandatory in nursing homes are pretty an impossible requirement. Nor would the disappointing. Governments of South The Victorian Government fire sprinklers Australia, Western Australia, made the Northern Territory, the mandatory in nursing homes ACT and Tasmania be doing in 2002, after a long-running something unreasonable by inquest into a fire at Kew making fire sprinkler systems Cottages in 1996, which mandatory for nursing homes resulted in the deaths of nine in their jurisdictions. In fact, disabled residents. It took a they would miss a golden fire in a disability institution opportunity. Under the aged in 2002 to get the Victorian care reform announced in Government to move. Queensland April this year, nursing homes The that carry out significant Government has finally renovations between now and got things under way after 1 July 2014 will qualify for a an arsonist set fire to the 60 per cent increase in their Palace Backpackers Hostel accommodation subsidies. in Childers in 2000, claiming A nursing home with 100 the lives of 15 tourists. residents would receive New South Wales has $750,000 in additional acted after the Quakers Hill Nursing Home Fire, where annual revenue. Obviously, nursing homes an alleged arsonist has been all want to qualify for this charged with ten counts of additional money and are all murder. gearing up for renovations. In The questions are: NSW (and Queensland) this - What needs to burn down means that homes are likely in South Australia before the to include a sprinkler system South Australian Government acts? How many deaths? as part of their renovations. Nursing home renovations - What needs to burn down will have to meet the in Western Australia before Western Australian definition of a “significant the refurbishment” to qualify for Government acts? How the additional funding. This many deaths? definition is currently being - What needs to burn down thrashed out by the new Aged in the Northern Territory Care Financing Authority before the Northern Territory Government acts? How (ACFA). CPSA will be making many deaths? a submission to ACFA - What needs to burn down petitioning for inclusion of in the ACT before the ACT fire safety improvements in Government acts? How the definition of a “significant many deaths? - What needs to burn down refurbishment”. COTA Australia is in Tasmania before the From page 1


September 2012

Tasmanian Government acts? How many deaths? Feds not interested in fire sprinklers WHAT the NSW Government also announced was that nursing home operators will need to inform residents, prospective residents and families about whether sprinklers are installed. Those nursing homes that can’t meet the 30 June 2015 deadline and take an extra year will need to submit and publish progress reports. This is very important, because fire sprinkler systems have so far been ignored by the nursing home assessment regime and the industry itself. While investigating nursing homes across NSW, CPSA discovered that basic information about fire safety in nursing homes is hard to access. It’s not just nursing homes that are sometimes hesitant to provide information about whether they have fire sprinklers in their homes. CPSA discovered the Australian Government agency which accredits nursing homes (and reports on standards within individual homes) misses an important opportunity to pass on this

information to the public. All nursing homes and aged care facilities must be accredited every three years. This accreditation process is done by the Federal Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency and each accreditation report can be found for each aged care facility by searching its website. What CPSA discovered, however, is that just because a facility has fire sprinklers installed does not mean this information is included in the accreditation report. This information may be collected by an inspector at the time of the accreditation process, but is not necessarily included in the final accreditation document made available on the website. This has two consequences. First, it diminishes the expense and effort of some NSW nursing home facilities to make their homes fire safe for their residents because the information is not readily accessible on their website report. Second, it underscores the attitude of the agency suggesting that fire sprinklers are not important when assessing nursing home fire safety standards. The accreditation process


CPSA Campaigns is the perfect opportunity for inspectors to collect and report fire sprinkler information for the Government. Following the Quakers Hill fire, NSW Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard said “the challenge is now to work with the Federal Government to establish which nursing homes do not have sprinklers and what steps may be necessary to ensure appropriate protection for residents”. Wouldn’t the accreditation process be the perfect opportunity for the Accreditation Agency to be working alongside the NSW Government to provide this much needed information? So, many nursing homes won’t give out the information about whether they have sprinklers or not, and the Accreditation Agency is not committed to collecting the information when it does its inspections.

MANY small private and not for profit nursing homes across NSW are not committing to installing fire sprinklers, despite the lives that might be saved if these facilities have a fire. Over 100 of the places that we contacted during our nursing home fire sprinkler survey were small and not for profit facilities. Of those we spoke to across the state that didn’t already have sprinklers, and weren’t planning to install them, we were given a variety of excuses. “It’s too expensive!” said one owner “who is going to pay for it? The pensioners?” said another. One operator told us it was just a “knee jerk reaction following the Quakers Hill fire”. Some

owners said they refuse to install sprinklers unless the Government provides funding to do so. But to all those responses CPSA says, if fire sprinklers are compulsory in all Queensland and Victorian nursing homes, they should be compulsory in New South Wales too. Many of the nursing homes we spoke to were very open with us. They had no problem discussing the sensitive issue of whether or not they have fire sprinklers, or indeed, if they plan to install them. These homes were more than happy to tell us they couldn’t afford to install sprinklers, because it would “cost a million dollars” according to Rockdale Nursing Home owner, Ernest Edwards. Others were equally defensive when asked what they thought of the company that owns Quakers Hill Nursing Home, Domain Principal’s decision to fit sprinklers in all of its homes. Or they had nothing to say about the decision. Other smaller homes we contacted however, such as Murray Haven Hostel in Barham, told us it was imperative that Domain Principal install fire sprinklers. We spoke to Barbara Bowers, CEO of Murray Haven, a nursing home that has sprinklers, and she told us it was “horrifying” that all NSW nursing homes don’t already have them fitted. Other smaller operators, such as Bega’s Casuarina Hostel and Hillgrove House, whose CEO Jim Butterworth was happy to confirm that both their facilities have sprinklers, thinks all nursing home facilities should have to do the same. Beecroft Nursing

September 2012

Small nursing homes and fire safety

Home General Manager, Michala Page, agrees. Ms Page, whose 97 bed facility has sprinklers, believes more legislation is needed to ensure safety for residents and staff. “You can’t put a price on the cost of a life,” she said. This message was reiterated by the General Manager of Bossley Park’s SWIAA Gardens, Kath Thammiah. Ms Thammiah said she witnessed the Quakers Hill fire while driving home on the night of the tragedy. After stopping to assist residents into ambulances, she was personally motivated to approach the board of SWIAA Gardens and asked them to consider installing sprinklers throughout the whole of their facility. Currently it has sprinklers in part of its facility and has now decided to go ahead with putting them through the whole place. When CPSA asked Ms Thammiah what she thought of organisations who said they couldn’t afford to install sprinklers, she said those operators needed to ask themselves if they would be happy to put their own mum

1800 451 488

and dad in a nursing home without sprinklers. If they answered “no”, she said they needed to reconsider how they run their own facilities. Others, such as Burwood’s Linburn Nursing Home, said it’s about time sprinklers were mandatory in NSW. Linburn Director of Nursing, Donna Sunderland, disagrees with operators who say that installation is too expensive. “Everyone is trying to make ends meet, fire [safety] is not something to shortcut on,” said Ms Sunderland. Ms Sunderland said she wouldn’t work in a facility without sprinklers, because the safety of her residents is paramount. “It’s the last thing I think about at night and the first thing I think about in the morning,” she said. Retirement Villages: a lifestyle choice but be wary RETIREMENT village living may be a great lifestyle choice but if you’re thinking about entering a retirement village, make sure you do your homework. Retirement villages, and in particular the contracts that go with them, can be a minefield


CPSA Campaigns for people, particularly if they decide that they wish to move on later. The NSW Government has recognised this with the Minister for Fair Trading, Anthony Roberts, stating that the contracts are currently “complex, lengthy and confusing”. That’s why the Government is implementing standard retirement village contracts. This won’t alleviate the complexity of the contracts entirely but is certainly hoped to create more transparency. These new contracts will start in 2013, with the final draft due to be out at the end of this year. Retirement villages are not for everyone (only 5 per cent of people over 65 live in them) and it’s very important that you do your research and seek legal advice. What to ask before you sign CPSA recently attended a parliamentary forum on retirement villages and the solicitors present had these helpful tips on what to consider. - Do your numbers. As you are not usually buying the bricks and mortar, you often don’t receive all the capital gains and there can be exit fees. You are buying into a lifestyle, not an investment. - Choose your solicitor wisely and pick someone with extensive experience in retirement village contracts. - Read the documents yourself and make sure you engage with the solicitor about your concerns. Don’t just hand it over. Involve your family as well so that there are more eyes and ears to nut out problems. - Understand what’s included in the recurrent charges as it’s usually not just maintenance. Make 10

sure the services available at the particular village are things you will actually use as you’ll be paying for them regardless. - Make sure any benefits or special deals you are offered such as free evening meals for the first six months are included in your contract because there can be poor communication between head office and the sales team. - Some villages have a “try before you buy” option where you can rent at the village before signing to “buy in”. Ask if this is an option. Transport for all Transport for NSW has been conducting research about the accessibility of the transport network for older people and people with disability. They met with nine organisations, including CPSA. CPSA Members present were asked by Transport for NSW about staff customer service, their experiences with the complaints system, impediments in the built

September 2012

environment that make travel prohibitive for older people , and what changes are needed to make things better. Transport for NSW reported finding overall that people had a lack of trust in the complaints system and have often given up engaging with it, that the behaviour of staff and also other passengers can reduce accessibility such as bus drivers taking off too quickly or passengers not vacating priority seating for less-mobile travellers. They also found that there has been poor communication to passengers about service upgrades and changes. Importantly, Transport for NSW reported that while conducting upgrades that meet the needs of one group, this can raise concerns for another. The development of large interchanges like Chatswood and Parramatta provide good examples. While these upgrades have been beneficial for people with mobility issues because they are accessible by lifts, the large, open spaces can prove difficult and confusing to navigate for people with dementia, intellectual

disabilities or poor vision. Transport for NSW is in the process of putting together a Disability Action Plan to cover all modes of public transport (private operators are excluded). A draft document has been released and feedback from organisations which serve/ advocate for older people and people with disability is encouraged. CPSA will be putting in a submission. As the consultation is not open to members of the public, CPSA is calling for VOICE readers to ring head office on 1800 451 488 to give us input about their transport experiences, so that we can incorporate these into our submission. The Disability Action Plan centres around how to upgrade the transport network so that it is accessible for all customers through the installation of lifts and ramps, improving information and service, partnerships with local governments and how to reduce transport disadvantage through supported programs and targeted concessions.


CPSA Information Directory INCOME SECURITY Centrelink Age Pension 13 23 00 DSP/Carer benefits 13 27 17 Family Assistance 13 61 50 Welfare Rights Centre Info on Government pensions and other benefits (02) 9211 5300 1800 226 028 National Information Centre on Retirement Investments Anything for the small investor and people wondering about super or how to invest 1800 020 110 Financial Ombudsman Services Complaints about banking, insurance, super, financial planning 1300 780 808 Industry Fund Financial Planning 1300 138 848 Australian Taxation Office Super/Lost super 13 10 20 Personal tax 13 28 61 British Pensions in Australia Assistance in claiming the British Pension (02) 9521 7964 1300 308 353 No Interest Loans Scheme 1800 509 994

Seniors Information Service 13 12 44 Consumer Trader & Tenancy Tribunal Tenancy, trader and consumer disputes 13 32 20 Energy & Water Ombudsman (EWON) Complaints about all NSW electricity/gas retailers and Sydney and Hunter Water 1800 246 545 Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Phone and internet complaints 1800 062 058 GOODS AND SERVICE Telstra Pensioner Discount For basic plans only 1800 353 652 NSW Seniors Card Discounts on goods and services 1300 364 758 NSW Companion Card Free event admission for companions of eligible people with a disability 1800 893 044 IPART Energy Comparison Calculator 1300 136 888 HEALTH AND CARE

RIGHTS Australian Human Rights Commission Complaints about discrimination and harassment 1300 369 711 Commonwealth Ombudsman Complaints about Federal Government departments and agencies 1300 362 072 NSW Ombudsman’s Office Complaints about NSW Government agencies 1800 451 524 NSW Trustee and Guardian 1300 360 466 September 2012

Guardianship Tribunal Financial management orders for people with decisionmaking disabilities 1800 463 928

Commonwealth CareLink Info about aged and community care 1800 052 222 Office of Hearing Services Subsidised hearing aids 1800 500 726 Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 Private Health Insurance Ombudsman Complaints and information 1300 737 299 VisionCare NSW Subsidised spectacles (02) 9344 4122 1800 806 851

Home Care Service NSW Domestic assistance, respite and personal care 1800 044 043 Rape Crisis Centre 24hours/7days 1800 424 017 Health Care Complaints Commission NSW only (02) 9219 7444 1800 043 159 Carers NSW Information, support 1800 242 636 Emergency respite 1800 059 059

HOUSING CPSA’s Older Persons Tenants’ Service (OPTS) Individual advocacy (02) 9566 1120 1800 13 13 10 CPSA’s Park and Village Service (PAVS) Individual advocacy for caravan parks and manufactured homes villages (02) 9566 1010 1800 177 688 NSW Department of Housing Info and applications 1300 468 746

Aged care information line Residential and community aged care information 1800 200 422 Aged Care Complaints Scheme Complaints about residential and community aged care 1800 550 552 Lifeline Mental health support, suicide prevention 13 11 14 Beyond Blue Depression and anxiety information 1300 224 636

Tenants Advice Line Mondays 3-6pm 1800 251 101 LEGAL The Aged-care Rights Service including Older Persons’ Legal Service Aged care and retirement village advocacy and information and legal advice for older people. (02) 9281 3600 1800 424 079 Law Access Referrals for legal help 1300 888 529

Public Dental Health Services Call NSW Health for details (02) 9391 9000 1800 639 398 Medicare Enhanced Primary Care Dental Scheme Call Medicare for details 132 011 People with Disabilities Advice for people with a disability (02) 9370 3100 1800 422 016 Exit Australia Information about euthanasia 1300 103 948 Dying with Dignity NSW (02) 9212 4782 Australian Men’s Shed Association 1300 550 009 1800 451 488

The Law Society Solicitor and legal firm referrals 1800 422 713 Community Justice Centres Dispute resolution services for minor matters 1800 990 777 Domestic Violence Advocacy Service 1800 200 526 Family Relationship Centres Relationship and separation information 1800 050 321 Office of the Legal Services Commissioner Complaints about lawyers and conveyancers 1800 242 958


Giggle Page Read between the lines JOB ADVERTISEMENTS “Competitive Salary” We remain competitive by paying you less than our competition.

“Apply in person” If you’re old or frumpy you’ll be told that the position has been filled.

“Join our fast-paced company” We have no time to train you.

“Seeking candidates with a wide variety of experience” You’ll need it to replace the three people who just quit.

“Casual work atmosphere” We don’t pay enough to expect that you will dress up; a couple of the really daring guys wear earrings.

“Requires team leadership skills” You’ll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.

“Some overtime required” Some every night and some every weekend.

“Career-minded” Female applicants must be childless (and remain that way).

“Duties will vary” Anyone in the office can boss you around.

“Problem-solving skills a must” You’re walking into perpetual chaos.

“Must have an eye for detail” We have no quality assurance.

“Good communication skills” Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want and do it.

Shoe Delight

A cheap shot at solicitors

A man returns to his hometown after twenty years abroad. When he gets there he cannot recognise the place. Everything has changed. The places he used to visit have all disappeared. He then remembers that the last thing he did before leaving was to take a pair of shoes to the shoemaker’s that he’d forgotten to collect. He decides to go there and try. Very pleased, he discovers that the shoemaker shop is still at the same place. He goes inside and tells the shoemaker that about twenty years earlier he left a pair of shoes to be repaired. The shoemaker asks for a description of the shoes then says: “Okay, Come back tomorrow. They will be ready then.” Some things never change.

A solicitor parked his brand new Porsche in front of the office to show it off to his colleagues. As he was getting out of the car, a truck came speeding along too close to the kerb and took off the door before zooming off. More than a little distraught, the solicitor grabbed his mobile and called the police. Five minutes later, the police arrived. Before the policeman had a chance to ask any questions, the man started screaming hysterically, “My Porsche, my beautiful silver Porsche is ruined. No matter how long it’s at the panel beaters, it’ll simply never be the same again!” After the man finally finished his rant, the policeman shook his head in disgust. “I can’t believe how materialistic you bloody solicitors are,” he said. “You lot are so focused on your possessions that you don’t notice anything else in your life.” “How can you say such a thing at a time like this?” sobbed the Porsche owner. The policeman replied: “Didn’t you realise that your arm was torn off when the truck hit you?” The solicitor looked down in horror. “Oh no!” he screamed. “Where’s my Rolex?!”


September 2012



THE VOICE of Pensioners and Superannuants of NSW

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