Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist June 2015 Contents Australian Pharmacist June 2015 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
‘Now, about 80% of all retired
Australians draw full or part pension.
The average life expectancy is already
80 for men and higher for women, and
many of us will live well beyond the
average. People here today should be
planning to live to 90. Deloitte Access
Economics estimates that by 2030 there
will be over five million Australians aged
55–70,’ she said.
‘ The Government announced in the
recent Budget the intention to increase
the age pension age to 70 by 2030.
My response is that there is no point
in altering these policy settings if we
haven’t achieved attitudinal change
in the community to support them.
There is no point requiring people
to work longer if age discrimination
prevents them from getting a job. It
is the aim of achieving the potential
positives of longer working lives that
underlies my focus on getting rid of
age discrimination in the workplace.
When we have done that, we will find
many choosing to work to 70, without
the stick of a later pension age.
‘Older Australians have challenged,
reshaped and redefined older age and
retirement, and the new realities offer
endless opportunities for new products
Ms Ryan said she had two main
messages to help the ageing.
‘First, create more inclusive workplaces
and hiring practices. Over half of the age
discrimination complaints we receive
at the Human Rights Commission are
related to employment, and figures
from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
show that for unemployed people aged
45 years and over the main difficulty in
finding work was being considered too
old by employers,’ she said.
‘Secondly, consider structural change of
the workplace. Many older Australians
would like to keep working but can’t
because employers are unresponsive to
their needs in terms of flexibility in the
working day or the working week.’
Adjunct Associate Professor Sociology
at Swinburne University of Technology
Katharine Betts believes the debate
about the negative impact of older
people is a ‘wild over‐reaction’.
She said this was underscored by a
Grattan institute study of healthcare
costs which showed there has been
a massive increase in costs, about
$41.5 billion between 2002–03 and
2012–13, but only 7% of this rise could
be attributed to demographic ageing
and 18% to population growth.
‘ This study calculated 70% of the
increase was due to improved services
and that is part of the rising standard
of living which is not something to
bemoan. This includes MRI scans and
CAT scans and treatments out there that
are improving people’s lives and they
want these services regardless of age,’
‘I was interested to talk to a friend
in the IT industry who told me there
was no racial discrimination when
seeking employees but there was age
discrimination and younger people
did not want to manage people who
were much older than they were. This is
somewhat understandable. It can
be tricky to manage someone your
grandparents’ age when you are only in
‘Participation rates among the ageing
are very interesting and over the past
few years there has been a lift in both
male and female participation rate
among the over 65s. Also the ABS
has reported that 8.7% of males and
5.3% of females aged 60 plus have
stated they do not plan to ever retire.
‘ This is their desire at present and of
course it depends on the opportunities
being available to them to enable them
According to a Grattan Institute report,
Game-changers: Economic reform
priorities for Australia, increasing the
workforce participation rate of older
people would mean that Australia’s
GDP would be about $25 billion higher
‘ The key policy change is to increase
the ages at which people become
eligible for the aged pension and
eligible to access their superannuation.
Implementing these changes promptly
would also reduce intergenerational
unfairness,’ the report said.
‘ The gap between Australia’s rate of
older people’s workforce participation
and that of comparable countries
suggests that there is ample scope
to increase the participation of older
Australians in the workforce, particularly
those aged over 60. This would
have a significant economic impact.
A 7% increase in mature age labour
force participation rate (still less than
New Zealand) would raise GDP in
2022 by about 1.4%, or $25 billion in
A Deloitte Access Economics study
commissioned by Age Discrimination
Commissioner Ryan showed that an
increase in the workforce participation
of over 55s by 3% would have an
impact of $31 billion on the national
economy. An increase of 5% would yield
$48 billion annually.
Speaking to Australian Pharmacist,
Ms Ryan said more had to be done
by way of practical recognition of the
contribution of older Australians.
‘I think that it is important to get
business and service providers to focus
on the fact that as well as all the other
benefits of older Australians, many
have acquired a lot of assets and are
able to be a big part of consumption.
And where they are not it is often
because retailers and product designers
are not looking at them as a market.
It’s a lost opportunity,’ she said.
‘People in retailing think they want all
of their customers to be under the age
of 30 and this is their target market but
they then wonder why there is a drop in
‘ There are great business opportunities
in paying real attention to the
circumstances of older people.’
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