Jane Halton to chair COTA

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Australia's peak representative organisation for older Australians, COTA, has appointed Jane Halton AO PSM as its next independent chair.

COTA, which sits on the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee, recently welcomed the raft of reforms announced by health minister Greg Hunt to private health insurance and the pricing of prostheses.

Ms Halton is well-known to the health sector as the former secretary of the Department of Health, which she led for 12 years, before leading the Department of Finance. 

She retired from the public service in 2016 and has taken up a number of roles, including serving on the boards of ANZ, Clayton Utz and the Australian Policy Institute.

Previous roles include president of the World Health Assembly, executive board member of the World Health Organisation, chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Councils and commissioner of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

"We're delighted to welcome Jane Halton as the next Independent Chair of COTA Australia," said CEO Ian Yates.

"Jane is one of Australia's most respected and experienced public health administrators and public policy experts, with extensive experience across the health spectrum, aged care, public sector finance, and governance.

"We look forward to drawing on this extensive knowledge and experience in advancing COTA Australia's work as the leading advocate for older Australians at a national level."

"My first job after graduating from university more than 30 years ago was working at ANU's ageing and family project and I have been closely tied to the sector ever since, including negotiating and running the Home and Community Care (HACC) program and being divisional head of Aged Care, as well as having overall responsibility for aged care as Secretary for 12 years," said Ms Halton.

"As we live longer and healthier lives it is vital that we have planning and strategies in place that capitalise on this wealth of our population's experience, and at the same time ensure all Australians are treated with dignity and respect as we age.

"I look forward to supporting COTA's work in speaking forcefully for consumer interests, particularly in priority areas such as aged care, retirement incomes, health policy and housing over the next three years."

Mr Yates thanked retiring COTA Australia chair, Jill Iliffe, for her tireless work and support for older Australians.