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PM needs to focus on helping older Australians



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22 November 2013

Sen Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Ageing.

PM needs to focus on helping older Australians

The Australian Greens said today the Prime Minister needs to focus on Australia’s rapidly ageing population, with the Productivity Commission’s Report clearly highlighting the need for a strong policy response.

“We shouldn't underestimate the impact that a doubling in the number of older Australians over 60 in the next decade will have on both our economy and our health and ageing services. Yet, Prime Minister Abbott has done just that by scrapping the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing and removing the dedicated Cabinet Minister role,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on ageing said today.

“This report is yet another demonstration of the need for clear policy action to ensure older people have the jobs, savings and support they need as they age. The Government needs to stop back-loading into the future and pushing people into poverty through measures like the scrapping of the low income super guarantee.

“The Government should ensure that big business and the mining sector start to pay their fair share, so we can care for all Australians as they age.

“Before making any changes to the pension age, we need a full investigation into the impact of such a move. Raising the pension age again, without proper examination would be a knee-jerk reaction when there is a growing number of older people facing poverty and being locked out of the workforce. Extending the retirement age further could serve only to further entrench this poverty.

“There are a range of policy issues that need to be addressed, including age discrimination in the workforce, and the need to enable those that are ‘asset rich but income poor’ to fairly access their home equity.

“Both Labor and Liberal failed to grapple with the need for serious reform in the way that we pay for aged care during the debate earlier this year - despite the PC providing a clear road-map.

“Given those wasted opportunities to talk about making aged care more sustainable, I am deeply concerned that neither party truly grasped the need to care for all Australians as they age,” Senator Siewert concluded.

Chris Redman Media Adviser for Senator Rachel Siewert Australian Greens Whip - Senator for WA

Ph: 08 9228 3277 | Em: chris.redman@aph.gov.au | Mo: 0418 401 180 | Tw: @mrChrisRedman