Retirement age needs to increase

Retirement villages.
Retirement villages. Nicholas Falconer

AS the global population ages, governments need to increase retirement ages and private superannuation contributions, says a report released by the OECD on Tuesday.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development released its first Pension Outlook outlining how Australia compared with other developed nation's on its pension and retirement system.

It said as life expectancy would rise more than seven years in developed economies, 28 of the 34 OECD countries were planning or already had increased retirement age.

The report suggested connecting retirement ages with life expectancy as well as making private pensions mandatory, including up to 12% in Australia.

It also reiterated proposals from the Grattan Institute last week that lifting Australia's retirement age above the recently increased 67 years of age was a positive move.

But National Seniors Australia chief executive Michael O'Neill said before lifting the retirement age, the government needed to make some simple changes which were stopping older people entering the workforce.

He said there were several things, such as a lack of workers compensation for employees over 65 years that were acting as disincentives for people to keep working late in their life.

"These regulatory imposts have been known about for more than a decade, but governments don't seem to want to do anything about it.

"Things like income protection and workers compensation should not change with the age of the employee.

"We now have an Age Discrimination Commissioner, which is a good thing.

"But how many reviews and inquiries do we need to do - we know what needs to be done first, before the retirement age is lifted, but it's not being done."

Only Queensland and Western Australia's do not have caps on the age of recipients for workplace compensation.

Age discrimination was another issue preventing some older people from getting jobs, but it would require long-term change, similar to that of the sex discrimination movement, he said.

"A 55-year-old who becomes unemployed faces an average 73 weeks out of work compared to person in their twenties who would be out of work for 23 weeks," he said.

"That's what needs addressing now. Increasing the pension age is a distraction.

"ABS figures show that almost 40 per cent of all discouraged job seekers, people who want to work but have given up looking, believe that employers consider them too old."
 

Topics:  economy, pension outlook, retirement age, superannuation



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