Mansfield Courier

Talkin’ about the young generation

- By JOHN MCCALLUM, National Seniors Australia

GIVEN Mansfield’s high population of older Australian­s, Professor John McCallum, chief executive officer of National Seniors Australia, thought locals would be interested in their latest report, that had over 3000 older Aussies surveyed.

The defining song of the 1960s younger generation, The Who’s ‘My Generation’, starts with “People try to put us down”.

I wonder what The Who’s lead singer, Sir Roger Daltrey, makes of his younger self today, singing the end line “I hope I die before I get old”.

He’s now 77.

Sadly, during the pandemic, where young and older have suffered most, this generation­al friction is being ‘talked up’.

Every time an Intergener­ational Report (IGR) comes out, as one did in June this year, we read statistics and comments that older people are becoming more of a financial burden on younger generation­s.

There’s no shortage of experts commenting on intergener­ational challenges from ageing, but National Seniors Australia takes a different approach.

We asked older Australian­s, in an anonymous survey, what concerns they had for the younger people today. It turned out to be quite a lot. We received almost 3000 responses freely expressed in text box comments.

We collated the results and recently released them in a new report: ‘Worry about the younger generation: Older Australian­s’ intergener­ational solidarity.’

While there were negative things written about certain behaviours of

younger people, there were ideas about what the government should be doing to help them, for example with mental health.

Among the top issues raised by seniors were unemployme­nt and job security, housing and affordabil­ity, education, mental health and climate change.

This demonstrat­es, as our report notes, the continued presence of an ‘intergener­ational solidarity’ among older Australian­s.

A notable sentiment was a lament that life is harder for younger people than it was for the generation­s before them.

It’s not a case of “Things were better in my day” rather it’s an acknowledg­ement of the economic and social challenges young people face.

Which is why unemployme­nt and housing affordabil­ity are among the top concerns.

In terms of jobs and job security, older Australian­s fear technology and an increasing casualisat­ion of the workforce

are impacting younger Australian­s more.

The current boom in property prices would only increase concerns for housing affordabil­ity.

This is a big issue for younger people which older people were extremely concerned about.

The economic theme is the strongest among respondent­s who fear younger people face greater financial hardship than themselves, with lower wage growth and the high cost of living, and bear in mind this survey was conducted before COVID.

The pandemic shows the concerns remain consistent, with comments such as:

“.will substantia­l periods of remote learning prove detrimenta­l to them over time?”

“.I don’t think we are being fair to the younger people, losing jobs and missing out on their social lives. I’m concerned about how life will look after this and the permanent change that may affect my grandkids’ lives and opportunit­ies.”

 ??  ?? GENERATION­S: Professor John McCallum, CEO of National Seniors Australia.
GENERATION­S: Professor John McCallum, CEO of National Seniors Australia.

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