Today, on the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, HelpAge International launches the Global AgeWatch Index 2014 ranking 96 countries according to the social and economic wellbeing of older people.
COTA Australia CE, Ian Yates, said while the Index rated Australia 13th overall, seniors would be concerned to see Australia come in 61st on income security for older people, the lowest in the region.
The report says Australia has the highest old age poverty rate in the region, below average pension income coverage and relative welfare rates compared to other countries in this region.
“The launch of the GlobalAge index should be a wake up call to the Australian Government – especially on their proposals for the age pension,” Mr Yates said.
“While it is pleasing to see we rate well on health and employment, the income security of Australia’s older people is comparable to that of Thailand (58Th), Ecuador (56th) and Bolivia (55th).
“That’s a pretty poor reflection on how we are managing retirement incomes in this country.
“It emphasises the need for an independent retirement incomes review and provides no justification for the Government’s planned changes to the age pension.
“We will slide even further down the scale if the Abbott Government continues the push to make Australian pensioners the oldest in the world and cut the pension rate through changes to indexation.”
Mr Yates said the fact that Australia lagged behind countries such as Canada (4th), the United States (8th), New Zealand (10th) and the United Kingdom (11th) showed we need to lift our game.
On the individual key indicators Australia is ranked:
5th on health status
2nd on capability (level of education and capacity for work)
26th on enabling environment
61st on income security
“Australia’s overall mixture of results indicates a lack of priority and coordination on policy for older people,” Mr Yates said.
“What’s needed is an overall strategy and responsibility for ageing policy at the Federal level.
“Like most countries across the world, Australia’s population is ageing.
“We need to plan for it now so all Australians have a good quality of life while they age
Full Global AgeWatch Index 2014 report, graphs and exec summary can be found at: https://helpage.box.com/s/dns35q1ndbm561v1pum4
Cota media contacts (Australia): Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774.
HelpAge International media contact (London): Sarah Gillam firstname.lastname@example.org