Thursday, April 05, 2007

Australia: Second Intergenerational Report Released

The Treasurer of Australia has released Australia’s second Intergenerational Report, focusing on the implications of demographic change for economic growth and assessing the financial implications of continuing current policies and trends over the next four decades. Over the next 40 years, the ageing of the population (specifically the impact of relatively fewer people of traditional working age) is projected to slow economic growth, with real GDP per person rising more slowly than in the past 40 years, and, at the same time, spending pressures in areas such as health, age pensions, and aged care are projected to rise, due to demographic and other factors.

Among manyt other things, the report shows that the rate of mature-aged men still in the workforce rose from 60% in 1997 to more than 66% in 2005, slightly higher than the OECD average that year. The participation rate for people of traditional working age (15-64 years) is projected to rise from 76.2% in 2006-07 to 78.1% by 2046-47, mainly due to an increase in participation rates of older workers (aged 55-64 years).
Decisions by individuals to participate in the labour market are influenced by their capabilities, the incentives in government programmes and the flexibility of the labour market to match job seekers with employment opportunities and pay. Spending programmes which provide income support and the personal tax system need to have appropriate incentives to provide a return for working and to provide support, including in times of unemployment or situations of disability. The capabilities of people can be improved through better health and education. The flexibility of the labour market, the range of jobs, qualifications, hours and rates of pay also influence people’s decisions about labour force participation. Continued attention to all of these influences, as well as the maintenance of a strong macroeconomy that maximises employment opportunities, will be necessary.
Source: The Australian Government Treasury Intergenerational Report Home (April 2, 2007)

Additional Source: The Age "Retirement no option for generation of older workers" (April 3, 2007)

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