Monday, 12 May 2014 23:08

It's Time for a Conversation About Ageing

UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds has called for tomorrow's Federal Budget to begin a national discussion about ageing in Australia.

“Australia has an ageing population. Treasury projects that over the next 40 years, the proportion of the population over 65 years of age will almost double to around 25 per cent,” said Ms Hatfield Dodds.

“Australians are living longer, but are not saving enough to pay for their retirements. The rising costs of health and aged care are making it difficult for ordinary Australians to live decent and fulfilled lives as they get older.

Ms Hatfield Dodds urged the government to lead a national discussion around active, healthy ageing.

“Older Australians are valuable members of the community, who continue to contribute in many ways,” she said.

Ms Hatfield Dodds said UnitingCare organisations see pressure on older Australians seeking work, as well as on families trying to plan for aged care.

“Too many older people face significant barriers to active participation in the wider community. Older Australians face discrimination in finding work.

“We need to change the way employers think about older workers, as well as how work is organised, if we want older Australians to continue to work and be valued.

“Changes to the pension age without changes to workplace culture, the organisation of work, superannuation and retirement planning may lead to more people experiencing poverty as they age.

“If we want a secure future for retirees, there are other policies that we could discuss as a nation.

“There needs to be new thinking around the funding of retirement and aged care. We need national strategies that will support adequate saving, as well as improve housing affordability and aged care.

“We need to ensure that those who can afford it pay their fair share of the costs of their care.

“The government has continued to drive recent reforms to aged care,” said Ms Hatfield Dodds. “We applaud them for this, but further changes will be essential.”