Of an ageing population with new economic strategies
issue because urban design, transport systems and access to services in these locations tend to be less suitable for retirees.
And the distance from major employment centres creates a barrier for older people who would like to remain in the workforce.
This doesn’t have to be a bad news story. There are lots of opportunities to be embraced by having an older population. As one woman at a Committee for Perth event, where we presented the findings of our ageing population report proudly said, “I’m over 65 and I’m not old.” She rightly received a round of applause. We are living longer and we’re also healthier.
Traditionally, strategies for managing an ageing population focus on two goals, minimising the economic impacts and harnessing the economic benefits of an ageing population. Most policies have focused on minimising the impacts. But there are positive alternatives. We just need to innovate, adapt, take advantage of new technology, cut red tape, engage with the private sector and maximise public sector efficiencies.
Strategies that could be implemented include introducing tax and financial incentives to encourage older people to remain in the workforce, providing financial incentives for employers to retain older workers, developing new and innovative businesses associated with healthcare products and services, encouraging entrepreneurship among older Australians, increasing and recognising volunteering and philanthropy among older Australians, reducing the cost of public service delivery and the availability of the aged pension. As individuals we need to be realistic about the retirement we can afford and the care we are prepared to pay for. With the greatest demographic shift upon us, the government cannot provide all that we want.
Now is the time to have the conversations about what we need.
Marion Fulker is chief executive of the Committee for Perth