Its Healthcare, Retirement Incomes, Aged Care And The Economy Say Older Australians

In deciding how they will vote on 2 July, health care and the economy will be the key drivers for older Australians, according to a national survey by Australia’s leading seniors advocate, COTA Australia.

In releasing its election statement today, COTA CEO Ian Yates said a national survey of older Australians had made it clear all parties need to better address the five key areas of health, aged care, retirement incomes, employment, and housing in their election policies.

“Thirty per cent of voters this election will be over 60 years of age, and half of those are over 70, which makes us an increasingly powerful voice politically,” Mr Yates said.

“Our election panel of more than 1,145 older Australians clearly voiced what is important to them and what needs to be done to make sure Australia is ready for the challenges and opportunities an ageing population presents.

“Overwhelmingly the three top election issues for older Australians are access to quality health care services (77%); having adequate pensions (62%) and access to good quality aged care (57%).

“The vast majority (87%) believe the Federal Government is not prepared to provide the services and support we will need as a nation to allow Australians to age well.

“More than three in four older Australians believe the aged pension is not enough to live on and there needs to be better incentives for most people to save for superannuation, but that current incentives favour the wealthy.

“At the very least there needs to be continued support for superannuation reforms announced in the 2016 Budget or similar measures, to better target tax concessions, support women and low income earners and lift restrictions on people over 65 making contributions to their superannuation,” he said

The survey also showed that older Australians are far unhappier about the direction in which the economy is heading than younger generations, and management of the economy is the second highest issue (38%) after a quality health system (52%) in deciding how they will vote.”

Mr Yates said COTA is asking all parties to commit to measures that protect Medicare, improve access to aged care, end discrimination against older workers and create bipartisan agreement around housing affordability.

Other measures outlined in COTA’s election statement include:

Lifting the freeze on Medicare payments to GPs;
A national ban on cold calling and door to door sales to prevent elder abuse
Lifting the cap on subsidised aged care funding; and
Better regulation of financial advice services around aged care
COTA’s election statement available:

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774

COTA invited members and older Australians to take part in an election survey. 1145 people completed the survey with the following results:

The Election

The top three issues (that are important to older Australians):
Access to quality health services (77%)
Having adequate pensions (62%)
Access to good quality aged care (57%)
People older than 80 years listed access to good quality palliative and end of life care as more important than having adequate pensions.

The issues of most importance when deciding whom to vote for were considered to be:
Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system (52%)
Management of the economy (38%)
A fair taxation system (28%)
Addressing climate change (28%)
Australian jobs and protection of local industries (28%)
Retirement incomes
78% believe the current tax concessions on superannuation contributions favour the well-off.
81% believe there needs to be better incentives to save in superannuation.
78% believe the full Age Pension on its own is not enough to live on.
Just 29% believe that overall Australia has a strong system of retirement incomes.
Just 28% support lifting the Age Pension eligibility age to 70 by 2030
Only 63% believe our healthcare system generally works well, but of even more concern is that less than half (47%) agreed that ‘the healthcare system generally works well for older people.
Except for access to their GP which was an encouraging 90% agreement, people relying on an age pension are far less likely to agree with statements about ease of access to the healthcare system:Only 45% agree that they can afford the healthcare services they need
Only 53% feel supported by the health system to negotiate their care and treatment
68% agree they have access to hospital services when and where they need it (compared to the average respondents 82%)
The Economy

53% of older Australians in the survey thought the Australian economy is heading in the wrong direction, compared to 37% of general Australians as found by the Essential Poll.

Read COTA’s election statement

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.