Conference on Productive Ageing report released

| August 18, 2013

Global Access Partner (GAP) and the Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR) held a conference on Productive Ageing at NSW Parliament House on 17 May. They have now released their report.

The theme of the conference was “A Future without ‘Age’”. Key topics of the day were the social implications and economic opportunities created by Australia’s ageing population.

Delegates of the conference included members of government, commercial and civic organisations. They agreed on strategies towards a ‘future without age’, for example mature workforce participation, expanded volunteering and other socially beneficial activities.

But they also decided that government policy needed to improve and social and commercial attitudes needed to change.

In 1970, only 8% of Australians were older than 64; in 2050, almost a quarter will be 64 or more. Pension ages have been increased, but still don’t take growing life expectancy sufficiently into account.

Although workforce participation by over 55s is on the rise, an increase of 3% would increase GDP by $33 billion, while 5% growth would see 750,000 benefit recipients become tax payers and give the economy a $48 billion boost. 2 million older people are willing and able to work and their under employment currently costs Australia $10.8 billion a year in lost GDP.

Employer and employee attitudes don’t match these demographic realities. Ageist prejudices persist, while tax and superannuation arrangements can still encourage retirement rather than continued employment, despite recent government reforms.

The report highlights recommendations to government (continue the reform of public policy), employers (rethink recruitment and commercial attitudes) and individuals (empower individual action and agency).

The report also summarises the findings of an interactive workshop as part of the conference proceedings that encouraged delegates to consider the most pressing issues, blockages and success factors affecting the employment of mature workers in Australia.

Download the full Report of Proceedings here.