Aussie Income Security for Elderly Worse than Albania
2 October 2014 at 11:34 am
Older people are better off living in Albania than Australia when it comes to their incomes, a new global report has revealed.
The Global Age Watch Index 2014 was released today by HelpAge International to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Older Persons.
The index found that Australia is one of the worst countries in the world for income security for older people, ranking 61 out of 95, placing it behind Albania (44), Malta (52) and Romania (26).
Norway topped the overall list, followed closely by Sweden, while the Latin American region was rated the best for pension revolution.
“Australia has the lowest ranking (61) in its region for the income security domain, and the highest old age poverty rate in the region (35.5 per cent),” the index said.
“It also has below average pension income coverage (83 per cent) and relative welfare rates (65 per cent) compared to other countries in this region.”
Chief Executive of national older persons advocacy group COTA Ian Yates said the news was disappointing.
"The launch of the GlobalAge index should be a wake up call to the Australian Government – especially on their proposals for the age pension," 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 (58), Ecuador (56) and Bolivia (55).
"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."
Senior Adviser at the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW (CPSA) Charmaine Crowe said the situation would only get worse for older people in Australia.
“The Index shows that 35.5 per cent of older Australians live in poverty. This statistic will only worsen if the Abbott-Government’s pension cuts come into effect, which will reduce the pension by $80 per week over ten years” Crowe said.
“Lifting the pension age to 70 will throw more older Australians into poverty when they are forced to live on the abysmally low Newstart Allowance because they cannot find a job at the age of 69.
“Reducing pension indexation to CPI only and raising the pension age to 70 must be rejected by the Senate if Australia wants to reduce poverty amongst older people”
Chief Executive of HelpAge International Toby Porter said Australia’s ageing population meant the government needed to act now to make the situation better.
“The unprecedented rate and speed of population ageing presents policy makers with a challenge,” Porter said.
“Only if they act now will they have a chance to meet the needs of their citizens and keep their economies going.”
“Social pensions are a game changer for older people.
“Rising numbers of older people mean governments need to radically re-think their approach to later life.
“Incomes are often too low to save for old age, which is why there’s such a need for a basic social pension now.”
The launch of the index coincided with a day of global activism in which more than 100,000 older people from nearly 50 countries would be campaigning as part of AgeDemands Action (ADA).
This global grassroots campaign calls on Governments, the international community and civil society to address the rights, concerns, and needs of older people.