The economic and social contributions of older people to Australian society were the focus of a National Seniors retirement forum in Melbourne this week.
The retirement forum, hosted by the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre, focussed on the positives older people make to the community.
National Seniors Chief executive Michael O’Neill said rather than draining the economy, older Australians contributed $65 billion each year.
“For too long, older Australians have been cast as a burden,” O’Neill said.
“But the reality is that older Australians are putting in 1.4 times more than the entire 2013 budget deficit or 4.2 per cent of GDP.
“Through volunteering and providing grandparent and informal care, older Australians are more than paying their way.”
O’Neill said that in the paid workforce, seniors’ loyalty and low rates of absenteeism are worth - in human resource terms - around $27 billion to employers.
“Seniors need to be seen as a huge opportunity for business, for the community and for government,” O’Neill said.
“But there is work to be done by the government in providing certainty in superannuation, pensions and investments to ensure the entire retirement system is fair.”
The forum included speakers from Leadership Victoria, University of New South Wales, Justice Connect Seniors Law, the Department of Human Services, Municipal Association of Victoria and Melbourne School of Design from Melbourne University.
A range of topics were covered including skilled volunteering opportunities, why some people plan for retirement and others don't, legal issues associated with ageing, financial issues around modifying your home as you age, community services to support living at home and how to design your home to support ageing.