AUSTRALIA - An Australian economic think-tank has called for the pension age to be gradually raised from 65 to 67.
The report, Pensions for Longer Life, said rising life expectancies and the aging of the population would justify a higher pension age by 2015. It added that Australia should eventually link the pension age to life expectancy on an ongoing basis.
David Byers, chief executive at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) said the report was an obvious and sensible response to the fact that most 65-year-olds were no longer near the end of their lives.
Byers said: “Ageing isn’t what it used to be. Turning 65 isn’t a huge milestone anymore. As Australians live longer and healthier lives, the way they work and prepare for retirement will also change."
He continued: “We need to alter the preconception about when you are 'too old' to work. You can still be highly productive at 65. Many of our most eminent Australians are making valuable contributions well after they turn 65. As Australians live longer and healthier lives, the way they work and prepare for retirement will also change."
When the Federal Government created the national age pension in 1909, around 4% of Australians were 65 or over. But by 2001, around 15 % of Australians were 65 or over - and by 2047, the Federal Treasury projects around 25 % of Australians will be 65 or over.
Rising life expectancy is one factor swelling the ranks of the 65-and-overs. By 2001, a 65-year-old woman could expect to live another 21 years and a 65-year-old man almost 18 years.
Changing the pension age by two years could save $800 million of tax money, the report estimated, while at the same time providing workers with better superannuation incomes after they reach the pension age.
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