Home' The Channel Magazine : National Newsagent April 2015 Contents 8 National Newsagent - April 2015
Newsagents will have read and heard much about The
Intergenerational Report released in early March, and with so many
varying opinions it is confusing to know what the future may hold.
IGRs are required to be produced at least every five years, and have
become a normal part of Australian policy-making. It is used to assess
the financial implications of continuing current economic policies and
trends over the next 40 years.
Every commentator has a different take on the report but it appears
that we will not be worse off in the future as many have feared, but
will have to work longer and smarter.
According to Joe Hockey, the report shows Australians will live longer,
work longer and face the pressures of a ballooning budget deficit
over the next 40 years.
The Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson said small businesses
should not shy away from the challenge of providing more flexible
working arrangements and are in fact better placed to do so than
Billson said small business will be the key to resolving the issues
facing the Australian economy. “The IGR makes the case we need to
lift productivity in the economy. Now, who’s best placed to do that?
It’s the agile, the innovative, it’s the small business men and women
that can see it’s an opportunity. A set and forget, sleepwalk into future
budget situation is completely unacceptable,” Billson says.
One of the biggest takeaways from the report is the imperative for
older Australians and parents to re-enter or stay in the workforce for a
longer period of time.
“The IGR not only identifies an ageing of the population, but a much
longer period of active economic and social life, which is all about
new opportunities,” says Billson, who believes employers must
reconsider the benefits of a mature workforce.
“I’ve heard people say 65 is the new 50—there is an awful lot of
economic, social and community contributions a mature person can
contribute,” he says.
But Billson says not only will the age of workers increase, so too will
the age of business owners and entrepreneurs.
“Ageing entrepreneurs still have a sparkle in their eye, insight and
experience to create the new economic opportunities for the future as
well,” he adds.
(So newsagents, you best retain that sparkle!)
Children and grandchildren will live
... but perhaps not move out of home any sooner...
Peter Whiteford Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy at
Australian National University, says our children and grandchildren will
be living longer than us and, on average, they will be much better off
in material terms.
“The Report makes it clear that Australia will have an ageing
population and life expectancy will, by 2055, be well into the 90s. It is
also predicted that the participation rates of people aged 65 and over
will increase significantly from 12.9% in 2014-2015 to 17.3% in 2054-55.
“On average, then, Australians—particularly those employed—will be
better off in real terms by more than 75%,” Professor Whiteford says.
“Nevertheless, the IGR shows that Australia faces an extended
period of difficult social policy choices. The Aged pension and
Unemployment benefits will continue to decline relative to general
wage rates and cutting social security benefits would increase income
inequality more than anywhere else in the OECD,” Whiteford said.
Michael William Blissenden, Associate Professor in Law at University
of Western Sydney, says attention to superannuation is a major
weakness in the report, considering that the superannuation system is
a critical element of how an ageing population can retire comfortably
and reduce reliance on the aged pension from the Government.
The Report also suggests that the Government is reviewing the
manner in which the superannuation system can transform the
superannuation fund pot of money into a retirement income stream.
That is, force older Australians to take their superannuation benefits
as an income stream rather than as a lump sum.
We won’t be worse off in the future
Ben Spies-Butcher, Lecturer in Economy and Society, Department
of Sociology at Macquarie University says all the evidence is that
material living standards will continue to rise. Indeed, the last report
suggested the average person in 2050 would be 80% richer than the
average person in 2010.
The Report has been severely criticised by not addressing the impact
of climate change.
The Australian Conservation Foundation said the report "pays lip
service to the environment but it paints a future where Australia
remains stuck with a fossil fuel-driven economy.”
Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the report clearly identified
climate change as a major challenge.
Whilst there is plenty to read about in the IGR, it appears we will
be living longer, working longer and therefore be generating more
And it means newsagents may largely be retaining their businesses
longer—unless of course there is work for aging retailers.
Sources: Read many opinions on www.theconversation.com
Report (IGR) 2015
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