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EPAC report underlines Coalition concerns



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MEDIA STATEMENT Philip Ruddock MP Federal Member for Berowra Shadow Minister for Social Security

Electorate Tel: (02) 482 7111 Fax: (02) 482 7018

Parliament House Tel: (06) 277 4206 Fax: (06) 277 4178

EPAC REPORT UNDERLINES COALITION CONCERNS

The Economic Planning Advisory Council's (EPAC) report "Australia’s Ageing Society” has vindicated Coalition concerns regarding provision of services for the aged in our society.

According to the EPAC report, Australia's over 65 population will increase from 1.9 million in 1991 to more than 5 million by 2051. The percentage of the total non-income earning population who are aged 0-14 or are older than 65 years, will increase from 33.1% to 39.1% in the same period.

Additional revenue will be required if the current standard of assistance for our elderly is to be maintained. EPAC forecasts a rise in taxes of 8% by the middle of the next century, in order to meet the increased social welfare costs caused by our aging population.

The Government must plan now to ensure that this serious issue is addressed.

Coalition initiatives which are designed to help encourage self-provision in retirement are a good starting point. . -

Over the past three years the Coalition established a comprehensive retirement income , policy which is drawn from both the social security and tax streams.

This includes a superannuation policy which is based on generous tax incentives aimed at low and middle income earners. .

Tax incentives must also be given to those who take financial responsibility for their own retirement. Currently great tax inequities exist between pensioners and those who are self-funded retirees.

EPAC warns that "Potential financial hardships and uncertainties for the aged have been compounded by the practice of early retirement." The Coalition has long recognised this fact, and believes that age should not be a barrier to employment, and age discrimination should be abolished.

Community attitudes in relation to savings need to be broadened, and the Coalition has sought to achieve this by the creation of a National Savings Strategy. Currently Australians are not saving enough to pay for the increases in expenditure outlined in the

EPAC report, and the level of savings needs to be increased.

31 January 1994

Further information: Philip Ruddock MP 06 277 4206, or pager 02 925 3911 #25589. COMMONWEALTH

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