The Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, the Hon Wayne Swan MP and the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon Mark Butler MP announced the establishment of the Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians on 30 March 2011.
The objective behind establishing the Panel was to identify and respond to the economic and social opportunities that are presented by an older population.
The Panel looked at participation in its broadest perspective, asking how Australia can best harness the life experiences and intellectual capital of senior Australians.
The Panel was asked to address the central question "What new opportunities will arise in the future with a larger, and more active, community of senior Australians?"
The Advisory Panel
The Panel consisted of three members, each working in a part‑time capacity:
- Mr Everald Compton AM (chairperson), retired Chair of National Seniors Australia; and Chair of the Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation
- Professor Gill Lewin, President of the Australian Association of Gerontology; Professor at the Centre for Research on Ageing at Curtin University of Technology; and Research Director at Silver Chain, a provider of community and health services in WA
- Professor Brian Howe AO, former Deputy Prime Minister with Ministerial experience in the fields of Social Security, Health, Housing and Community Services; and Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Public Policy, University of Melbourne
The Panel met each month, rotating between the state capital cities, and held regional meetings in Alice Springs and Armidale. The Panel's monthly meetings involved targeted consultations with peak representative bodies, relevant experts and members of the public.
A secretariat was established to support the Panel's work, with staff from the Treasury, the Department of Health and Ageing and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
Scope of work
The Government asked the Panel to consider a number of specific policy areas during its deliberations:
- Opportunities created by the National Broadband Network (NBN) for senior Australians to stay connected to their communities.
- Opportunities for senior Australians to get involved in activities to preserve our environment and help tackle climate change.
- Priority areas for consideration by the new Commissioner for Age Discrimination – helping cultivate positive attitudes towards senior Australians across all facets of the community.
- Improving workforce participation and investing in the skills and experience of senior Australians – allowing businesses and community groups to tap into an active and engaged talent pool of senior Australians.
- Opportunities for businesses and community groups to provide a wider range of recreational and preventative health services that meet senior Australians' interests and support healthy and active lifestyles.
- Creating new avenues for senior Australians to volunteer – supporting the networks and systems that can match the skills and abilities of a growing pool of senior Australians with community needs.
- Supporting seniors‑friendly housing – influencing planning, design and construction decisions to take advantage of the opportunities presented by demographic change.
- Helping senior Australians plan for their future – helping senior Australians keep an eye to the future, make well‑informed decisions and plan ahead for life's transitions.