Australians Living Longer and Living Better


Australians are living longer, healthier lives. In the last 100 years, the life expectancy of Australians has increased by 20 years. Now Australia has 3700 people aged over 100. By 2050, Australia will have over 50,000 people aged 100 and over. For seniors, this means more years of being active and being a valuable part of the community.

On 30 March 2011, the Government established the Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians to examine the opportunities presented by the growing community of older Australians. The Advisory Panel is chaired by Mr Everald Compton AM who was at the helm of National Seniors for 35 years until the end of last year. The two other members of the Advisory Panel are Professor Gill Lewin and Professor Brian Howe AO.

Today, the panel handed its first report to the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan and the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler. This is the first in a series of reports that the panel will hand to the Government before the end of the year. It invites further proposals from all who believe ageing is an asset not a liability.

'Contributions come in all shapes and forms: workers, carers, grandparents, volunteers, consumers, vacationers and valued members of community and civic groups. Added up, they form an important part of our social fabric', the Chair of the Panel said today.

'For too long, this important contribution has been undervalued. For too long, older people have faced discrimination.'

'A major barrier is the attitude to ageing. People do not suddenly become old at a set age. Rather, everyone ages and is ageing. Life experiences, health and the ageing process mean everyone ages differently.'

Age discrimination diminishes our social diversity, devalues older people and destroys the potential of many to live their lives on their own terms.

Everald Compton's report found that Australians aged 45-64 comprise around one quarter of the population and hold half the nation's total household wealth.

This enormous market represents significant opportunity for the Australian business community to provide innovative goods and services for seniors.

26 August 2011