Time for a minister for older Australians, National Seniors says

A private member’s motion introduced to parliament calling for the establishment of a portfolio and minister for older Australians has attracted support from advocacy groups. But how would such a ministry work?

Independent MP for the seat of Mayo and longtime seniors advocate Rebekha Sharkie introduced the private member’s bill in parliament last week and said implementing the bill would “demonstrate the government’s commitment to older people during a time of demographic change in which Australians are expected to live longer lives, but with increased reliance on key services such as health and aged care.”

The portfolio would take responsibilities from other government departments such as Health and Social Services, acting as a conduit between government and the community to better engage with older people on matters which concern them

Ms Sharkie says the portfolio would allow for a ‘whole of government’ approach to policymaking for and with older Australians.

In a practical sense, a minister for older Australians would deal with issues such as ensuring government services are accessible and inclusive for all, would champion older Australians in the media and shift the narrative of older people as vulnerable and burdensome.

Ms Sharkie’s proposal would see the new ministry work with older people and the aged care sector to address issues like age discrimination, elder abuse, social exclusion and isolation, homelessness, access to and cost of health care, and financial stress.

The proposal comes after a meeting late last year between Ms Sharkie, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the member for Kennedy, Bob Katter and representatives from older people’s advocacy group National Seniors Australia (NSA).

Current Mr Grice backed Ms Sharkie’s plan saying that now is the time to plan for Australia’s increasingly older population and that older Australians deserved a minister dedicated to their needs.

“The number of people aged 65+ is expected to grow by 2.35 million by 2041, and those aged 85+ expected to grow by almost 750,000 over the same time,” he says.

“We need to plan for this impact and opportunity now.

Mr Grice says although the wider public may not see the value in such a ministry, a dedicated minister for Older Australians would be able to paint a better picture of older people to the public than general media normally shows.

“There is also a misconception older Australians are living well off high inflation,” Mr Grice says.

“However, pressures from rising private health insurance costs, and out-of-pocket expenses, rising living costs including rent, fuel, and grocery increases erode most of these gains.”

For now, the proposal to create a dedicated government portfolio for older Australians is just that – a proposal. But it’s a proposal now written into the records of parliament, where debate can proceed, and hopefully real change can be made.

Do you think we need a minister for older Australians? What else could the portfolio cover? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: More Aussies anticipate renting in retirement

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.

4 COMMENTS

  1. A Minister for older Australians is a great idea, and desperately needed.

    Ageism is entrenched in government itself, so such a Minister would have to be fiercely independent.

    Voters 60 yo and over make up 33% of the electorate, and yet have no Parliamentary representative.

    Shockingly toxic aged care “reforms” are one resuit of that.

    Stamping out the current Boomer-bashing would be an excellent start.

  2. whats the point in paying another minister $5000 dollars a week to do what the GOVT IS DOING ALREADY FOR PENSIONERS WHICH IS NOTHING
    WHY IS IT PENSIONERS GOT $9 a week and yet LOWE INCOME EARNERS $74 a week
    THATS A LOT MORE THAN THE SUPPOSED INFLATION RATE GIVEN BY THE GOVT TO PENSIONERS %1.8
    pensioners are on a lot lower income than the lowest paid and yet us oldies have paid more in taxes over the last60 years plus

    When it was actually stated in the parliament not to consider the elderly and carers and the disabled in the stimulus packages and while dollies received a 100 increase in payments
    SINGLE PARENTS A %20 pensioners nothing
    EVERY ONE GOT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS MORE THAN THE ELDERLY AND CARERS AND THE DISABLED AND ARE STILL TREATED LIKE WE DO NOT EXCIST
    MAYBE AS AGED PENSIONERS HAVE %33 of the votes come ELECTION TIME WE ALL SHOULD LOOK FOR A PARTY THAT IS GOING TO LOOK AFTER US INSTEAD LINING ALL THEIR POCKETS

  3. Totally agree with you Mitchell. The Labor party was formed to give the workers and lower paid a voice in parliament, but, same as the Liberals they are only their for their themselves and the wealthy. Starting a party for the disadvantaged will get my vote.

  4. The concept of a Minister for Seniors is at least a point of contact.
    This current cabinet and Prime Minister just does not show any empathy for the elderly as seen by the Minister for Aged care whose job seems to be “ensure the baby boomers fund more of Agedcare costs rather the Govt cough up a fairer share of Govt funds which to be fair is actually the taxes paid by the elderly.
    Cost of living is out of control and Labor won’t stop spending by wasting money on pet left wing projects rather than help those in need.
    However a point I raise is that the Seniors groups need to be represented by one group and start to become vocal pointing out seniors do matter.
    I have never heard so many people disgusted in the direction this Govt is taking this country.

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