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COTA

Federal Budget 2017-18 pre-budget position statement

February 2017

In 2016 COTA Australia did not submit a detailed Pre-Budget Submission and this year we are following the same approach. As we noted last year, our experience is that "set piece" submissions have limited value in impacting on policy formulation for Federal Budgets in today's political, bureaucratic, economic and digital environment. However, we recognise the opportunity provided by the Budget process to highlight to our members, stakeholders, and the general public COTA's current priorities on which it is currently working with or presenting to government.

COTA Australia advocates for the rights and interests of, and concrete, positive outcomes for older Australians. We are looking for practical, realistic and sustainable policies and programs from government that meet community needs and deliver greater fairness and equity across society, and for our particular constituency of older people.

We recognise that the construction of this year's Budget, and Budgets over the next decade, will take place in the context of:

  • fiscal pressure at all levels of government and across all policy environments;
  • economic volatility and challenges to economic and employment growth;
  • escalating digital development and disruption impacting on both the economy and the lives of individuals;
  • potentially deepening economic and social inequalities;
  • impacts of climate change and the imperative to progress further towards a low carbon emission economy;
  • continued ageing of the population, with a greater diversity of older people; and 
  • potential major breakthroughs in healthcare which could continue to impact on longevity, morbidity and service needs.

We understand that to achieve good outcomes for older Australians full recognition must be given to the significant pressures, constraints and opportunities listed above.

Our concern is that the strategic complexity of this picture is not acknowledged by governments in their broad policy development nor in their short-term Budget processes. Governments will miss a crucial strategic opportunity if they continue to posit population ageing as predominantly a challenge to public expenditures (often not supported by the actual evidence) rather than an opportunity to adaptively and productively respond to demographic change with a positive, inclusive, socially cohesive, long-term vision for our economy and society.

COTA continues its call for current and future governments to take a long-term, strategic, integrated policy approach to population ageing, and a fair, equitable and productive policy approach towards current and future cohorts of older Australians. In the forthcoming Budget and those in coming years COTA Australia will target the issues and government responses that we consider will deliver the greatest wellbeing to older people over the long term and contribute to a stronger nation overall.

As with our 2016 statement, this Position Statement identifies ‘headline' concerns related to our current three strategic policy priorities of Retirement Incomes; Health; and Aged Care. We also include a small number of additional ‘headline' items relating to housing policy, elder abuse response and the delivery of Centrelink services. These are generally matters on which our representations have been and are ongoing.

Clearly COTA works across a much broader range of federal policy areas than the priorities outlined below, and we will continue to engage with government on these through consultation, advisory processes, active representation, advocacy, collaborations and other means.

Read COTA Australia's Federal Budget 2017-18 pre-budget position statement

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