Copy of my national media release dated 23 December 2013.
Everald Compton and his research partners at Per Capita will commence community consultations in early 2014 to seek public opinion on the key issues Australia must face in handling the economic and social impact of the ageing tsunami which will hit the world over the next quarter of a century.
Compton said today that some of the most controversial questions and issues are –
1. Should self-funded retirees pay income tax on the drawings from their superannuation fund? Unless this happens, Australia’s young taxpayers will bear an increasingly large taxation burden.
2. Will Australians accept laws which prescribe that neither the aged pension nor superannuation can be accessed before 70? This will become necessary as most people can be expected to live to 90.
3. Will the option of drawing superannuation as a lump sum need to be banned so that monthly drawings will last for at least 25 years?
4. Should the superannuation guarantee be increased to 15% immediately if retirement incomes are to last until age 85?
5. Should employees over 70 have access to workplace cover, if currently they don’t?
6. Age discrimination is rampant in the workplace with seniors being denied jobs for which they are well qualified. Governments are among the greatest discriminators. A huge change of attitude is needed.
7. Is it possible for seniors to be encouraged to train for a new occupation which brings them the vigour of a second life, thus ensuring that they will want to stay in the workforce until they are at least 80?
8. Will governments who want to sell real estate assets at maximum prices be willing to make land available at low cost for age friendly rental housing which is now in very short supply?
9. Can we encourage seniors not to go to doctors and hospitals unless it is absolutely necessary, while ensuring their health does not suffer, so that Medicare will not be bankrupted? This will require a major national campaign of preventative health.
10. Will venture capitalists invest in new recreation industries for seniors? Many may have up to 40 years of retirement in which they need to keep physically and mentally fit. Most will be willing to pay for interesting and challenging recreation.
11. Is the nation willing to invest many millions in research and treatment of all forms of dementia? It will become the world’s most prevalent ailment and the one most feared by the elderly.
12. Seniors provide most of Australia’s volunteers, but they want to undertake more interesting tasks than making the tea and providing transport. They want to use their life experience to give personal and practical help to people with social problems so long as professional groups and trade unions will allow it.
Everald Compton said “there are many more issues of ageing to be assessed and these cover important matters including but not limited to lifelong learning, carers, technology, nursing homes and travel insurance, but there are too many to cover in one statement, which is an indication of the gravity of the situation”.
Executive Director of Per Capita, David Hetherington, will call for expressions of interest in early 2014 from those wishing to take part in community consultations and have a direct input into these and other ageing issues. Consultations will be held in all capital cities and in a number of regional towns. There will also be provision for comments on the Per Capita website – http://www.percapita.org.au
The Report will be issued before 30 June, 2014, and will make specific policy recommendations to all three levels of government on all action needed now to enable Australia to turn the ageing tsunami into a community asset. Per Capita will then embark on a plan to follow up the report relentlessly until governments take action.
Everald Compton was one of the founding directors of National Seniors Australia in 1976 and was its Chairman for 25 years. He was appointed by Wayne Swan to be Chairman of the Federal Governments Panel on Positive Ageing but was sacked by Joe Hockey in November, 2011, as was the entire Panel. Per Capita, an eminent not for profit think tank, invited the Panel to join them to complete the Blueprint on Ageing using private funding. Panel members Brian Howe, Gill Lewin and Neville Roach joined Compton in this important task.
David Hetherington is a highly qualified and experienced researcher who is Executive Director of Per Capita.
Everald Compton is available for comment on 0407 721710
David Hetherington is available for comment on 0413 863068