I may be a right wing conservative and Liberal, but raising the age of retirement may not be the way to go. Nor is reducing the pension. Those who fought for the age pension did so in order to live longer and create an environment where they can finally be at peace with the world around them. We who are presumably living longer should fight to retain the age pension for the sake of future generations. Laying the foundations for a brighter future and the well being of a nation are matters that each generation has to grapple will have to face and overcome.
Don’t be fooled by the political rhetoric. The age pension should stay no matter what the standard of living is. Until I can see absolute proof that we are going to live longer on a mass scale, then and only then should changes be made. It is true that medical research, science, technology and a greater understanding of our environment has gone a long way into raising the standard of living and that indicators are demonstrating we are living longer. However it is also true that nature has its own way of naturally culling a species. Let’s not support nature by encouraging it further with the reduction and/or demise of the pension.
Governments should take into account that the baby boomers and mature age members of Australian society will be here for a while yet and in a miniscule way contributing to the economic prosperity of this country. The baby boomer generation currently have the wealth and property to support and sustain a lifestyle that was only possible by the elite of a bygone era. This was not achieved by being idle or by receiving handouts, but by sheer hard work, long hours, facing challenges on a daily basis and preparing for their retirement.
Raising the age of retirement is not the way to do it. There are better ways such as reducing taxes once you reach a certain age and by providing incentives, jobs and many other opportunities to remain in the work force. Industry at the moment is not geared for such changes, despite all the hullabaloo surrounding employing mature age workers. Until the captains of industry implement workplace practices and job opportunities, mature age workers will find it difficult to find jobs. As any recruitment agency and/or captain of industry.
Let’s get real about one thing, if governments want workers to remain in the work force, then they must create the environment in which it is both acceptable to Australian Society and appealing to the mature age workers. Real incentives, such as tax breaks, flexible hours, good health facilities being available, well being programs in place, a reduction of stress in the work place and relationship advisers that support harmony within the particular industry.
In addition industry captains should consider salaries commensurate to the mature age workers qualifications, life skills experience, qualities and health related (if any), leave entitlements, productivity outcomes, superannuation, sick leave and other entitlements. Individual workplace agreements should be abolished as they are discriminatory and based on disadvantages to the mature age worker seeking a job that is both appealing and suitable according to their needs.
I propose that at the age of 50, all mature age workers take a sabbatical from the work force for two years. During those two years mature age workers can take a holiday and relax, return back to school and become re-skilled or re-educated in other areas using their life skills and experience as transferrable skills whilst acquiring new knowledge and qualifications. At the end of the two year sabbatical, mature age workers be provided with lucrative and appealing incentives to return to the workforce on a part time or on flexible hours. At the same time Governments provide subsidies, tax breaks, lucrative incentives, grants, projects and research programmes to captains of industry with the aim of employing mature age workers.
In summary, if we are to be serious about the current governments incentives regarding raising the age barrier to retirement, they must do so with all the good intentions in mind and by providing the incentives and the environment to make their policies reach fruition. This however is not as easy as it sounds as all tiers of government, agencies and the work force need to work together in order to make it all possible.
Who knows. maybe on reflection, the current Federal Government has taken the right step in the correct direction. All that needs to be done, now is to back up their arguments and policies with hard facts and create that future environment. Life is too short therefore let us not get carried away and think about it by asking ourselves, if this is such a good idea?
Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum. He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News. He holds a Bachelor of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Contact via Email: [email protected]