An inquiry investigating 'long term strategies to address the ageing of the Australian population over the next 40 years' was established by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Ageing in June 2002. The Committee received over 140 submissions from a variety of individuals and organisations. FaCS provided a submission to the inquiry on 16 December 2002. This Occasional Paper reproduces the Department's submission.
The key themes of the submission are:
- Demographic change over the next 40 years will involve substantial growth in both the proportion of the population over age 65, and associated government spending.
- This will be accompanied by a sharp reduction in the growth of the working-age population—previously a strong driver of Australian prosperity.
- Demographic change also carries risks and opportunities for family formation, fertility, care and social participation.
The submission puts forward key strategies for addressing demographic change:
- Promoting labour market participation while reducing the rate of premature retirement to improve working-age population growth, as well as safeguard retirement incomes.
- Preserving Australia's moderate rate of population ageing by assisting families to realise their goals both for employment and fertility.
- Supporting social participation, particularly amongst the elderly.
- Preventing long-term deterioration of the Commonwealth budget due to slower economic growth and increased age-related spending.
FaCS' role in addressing these goals is discussed in detail. For FaCS, the approach to the economic, budgetary and social impacts of structural ageing is divided into four action areas:
- Increasing participation
- Consolidating retirement incomes
- Supporting family formation and resilience
- Responding to ageing communities