Paul Gabbert

Community and Stakeholder Engagement Officer,

COTA Queensland

The Age of Disruption. How Communities Across Queensland are Rising to the Challenge to Better Support their Older Residents.

Wednesday 12 October 2022

2:30pm – 3:00pm

Speaker Bio

Paul Gabbert is a Community and Stakeholder Engagement Officer with Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland. 

Paul’s work with COTA Queensland includes identifying, supporting and promoting models of care which enable people to age well in their community and access timely care and support when they need it.

Paul has a background in community development, program management and community engagement and experience across state and local government and the community sector. He has worked in residential services, employment programs, community centres, NDIS engagement in the disability sector, and promoting Age-Friendly Communities.


The transition to the Support at Home Program will cause disruption and change in communities around the country. COTA Queensland is committed to the voices of people living and working in Queensland, especially those in regional, rural and remote communities to be heard as we move towards the new system. 

Between 2020 and 2021, we conducted targeted engagement activities across regional, rural, and remote locations. Our aim was to gain a deeper understanding of the supports and services which assist people to remain connected and supported within their communities as they age.

We were particularly interested in people’s experiences of ageing in different communities across Queensland, and the role and contribution of Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) services given the changes ahead with the introduction of the new Support at Home program.

We discovered, not surprisingly, that experiences for people vary greatly.  Some feel well supported within and by their community, with multiple players contributing to their sense of safety and belonging.  Others feel isolated and despondent, fearing their only alternative is to leave their community when they can no longer manage alone.

In some communities we found that CHSP and aged care providers play a key role in connecting and supporting people.  In other communities, the distance for providers to travel was a major deterrent and residents were uncomfortable not knowing who was coming into their home.

Through this engagement with consumers and subsequently with CHSP providers across Queensland, we also started to hear stories of innovation, what communities and providers were doing or exploring in order to better support their older residents. We also heard instances of where CHSP providers wanted to build on the community’s assets to strengthen their service provision and were keen to learn more about this. 

Through a Healthy Ageing lens we will share what communities and providers are doing.  Examples will show how challenges such as finding staff, providing consistency of support workers for clients, and delivering services responsive to a community’s needs are being met. 

Stories shared will also highlight how community, provider and government resources are optimised through these creative and collaborative initiatives.  After all, we’re in this together.  It’s up to all of us!  

We are all in this together to effect the change we want to see.  Let’s challenge our assumptions and beliefs through sharing insights and learnings.