COTA: Blueprint required for ageing Australia

September 23, 2014 | Aged Care Management

Pension changes could soon be on the way, but the Council On The Ageing (COTA) has announced that a full review is needed before any action is taken.

In a new blueprint released at the National Press Club, COTA detailed plans for the ageing Australian population, and how the government needs to take changes off the table and proceed with a plan better suited to the changing demographics of the country.

The proposed pension changes could hit elderly Australians hard, especially considering reduced indexation would cut the pension by 10 per cent by 2024.

The paper essentially details an income strategy for retirees that takes taxation, superannuation and other issues into account (such as those related to employment). Such a document is attentive to the needs of the population, especially given the trend towards a larger older population in the next few decades.

In a release posted on COTA website, Chief Executive Ian Yates explained how the blueprint was a welcome addition to the ageing population debate, and that it highlighted the fact that the government needs to convene a retirement incomes review.

"The blueprint released today is one of a series of considered approaches which have been put out by academics, think tanks and industry organisations, many of which were presented at COTA's policy forum 'Making an Australia for all ages – what's the plan?' on 22 July," he said.

"The ageing of our population generates a range of challenges and opportunities."

Mr Yates explained that policy decisions were being made "in a vacuum" that didn't take into account the broader interconnected impact.

Making such sweeping policy changes without proper forethought is certain to be detrimental in the long run, as elderly Australians could be left without critical financial support.

"The result is an unfair retirement system where many higher income earners and wealthy retirees each receive a superannuation tax concession greater than the value of the age pension."

"Clearly this inequitable arrangement is unsustainable and needs to be addressed."

The ageing Australian population may seem insignificant now, but the changes could be substantial. It's going to be important to understand how policy changes and can reforms can have an effect, not just in the short term.

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