Patricia Sparrow will replace Ian Yates as Chief Executive of peak body for older Australians, Council On The Ageing (COTA) Australia.
Today, the organisation announced Ms Sparrow will return to COTA Australia, bringing her experience from her previous roles as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Vision 2020 Australia and CEO of the former non-profit aged care provider peak body, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA).
Ms Sparrow was formerly the peak body’s Aged Care Reform Director from 2011 to 2014, and will replace Mr Yates, who has played a pivotal role in COTA for over 33 years, including 20 years at the helm of the national advocacy organisation.
His successor, Ms Sparrow, has extensive experience in human services, Local and State Governments, and the non-Government sector, and is an aged care advisor to Federal Ministers.
Ms Sparrow said it will be a big feat to take over from Mr Yates, but has faith she will do justice to the role.
“It will be a big challenge to fill Ian’s shoes but I’m confident that with the talented COTA Australia team and my background across consumer advocacy, Government and business we have the right tools to take COTA Australia forward and improve outcomes for older people,” she said.
“Age discrimination, employment, cost of living, retirement incomes and secure housing, especially for older women – as well as aged care – are amongst the nation’s biggest challenges for the next few decades and ones that I am passionate about addressing.
“My priorities will be to improve equality in the delivery of all services and harness the power of the new generation of older Australians for good.”
COTA Australia Chair, Professor Jane Halton AO PSM, said appointing Ms Sparrow would ensure great continuity in the organisation’s role as the peak policy and advocacy body representing older Australians.
“[Ms Sparrow] has already been instrumental in achieving important changes for older Australians in her previous roles and will bring a level of knowledge, enthusiasm and experience to COTA Australia that makes her an ideal successor to Ian Yates,” Professor Halton said.
“While Australia has come a long way when it comes to understanding and respecting the rights and needs of older Australians, there is still a long way to go, and Patricia is the ideal person to help us navigate the challenges ahead.”
Professor Halton also paid tribute to Mr Yates’ work in the Chief Executive over his long service.
“Ian has achieved great things at COTA Australia, but all good things must come to an end,” she explained.
“Ian hasn’t just made an important contribution to COTA Australia as an organisation, he’s played a pivotal role in shaping the way older people are seen and heard in our country.
“While of course there are still many big challenges ahead, there’s no doubt we’ve come a long way as a country when it comes to the roles and welfare of older Australians and Ian has been at the centre of that.”
Ms Sparrow will take up her new role in December, and Mr Yates will continue to contribute to the welfare of older Australians in other roles such as Chair of the Council of Elders.