Treasurer Josh Frydenberg wants to see older Australians delay retirement and remain in the workforce for longer. According to reports, the deputy Liberal leader is expected to call for over-65s to work for longer during a dinner speech this evening.
Frydenberg is set to deliver a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia on Tuesday and will use the opportunity to call for increased workforce participation from those nearing retirement, reports the Daily Telegraph via AAP.
“As a nation, we need to effectively leverage the three P’s – population, participation and productivity – to meet this challenge,” he is expected to say. The treasurer is also expected to highlight Australia’s ageing population and increasing life expectancy, as well as the fact that the number of working-age Australians is declining.
After details emerged of Frydenberg’s speech, the pollie was hit with criticism, with Australian Unions saying: “The CEOs and politicians who gutted TAFE and want to attack our super are the same people who want us working until we’re well into our 70s whether we like it or not.”
While political lobbying group GetUp! wrote on Twitter: “There isn’t enough decently paid work to retrain into @JoshFrydenberg. More than 700,000 jobseekers, for fewer than 240,000 jobs. We need a federal job guarantee to harness the untapped potential of older Australians who want to work, not a half measure.”
Members of the public also slammed Frydenberg’s plans, with one person writing: “We already have 2 million Australians unemployed or under-employed. Pray tell @JoshFrydenberg, where will all these elder Australians work once they’ve retrained? You decimate the employment market, then tell us all to get better jobs? Get out!”
— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) May 31, 2019
The treasurer’s speech comes after the spotlight was shone on the rising trend of ‘unretirement’ – which sees older Australians shunning the traditional retirement plan and returning to work in later life – by Channel Nine’s A Current Affair program.
Sarah Cotton from Transitioning Well – a company that helps older Aussies return to work – told the program earlier this year that there are now an increasing number of people choosing to defy tradition and take up new jobs over the age of 60 and higher.
“The research shows that nearly 180,000 Australians who had already retired were actually either already back in the workforce or were looking actively for work,” she said.
Real-life ‘unretirees’ also appeared on the show, including Fred Garcarczyk who explained how he became a Melbourne tour guide following retirement, after his daughter noticed he wasn’t enjoying his time at home. He said: “If you find a job that you really love, you will never work another day in your life.”
While it was the same for Harry Stockdale, 65, who had spent a lot of his life before retiring in the military. After travelling around the country in a caravan, he struggled to fill his days and now happily works in the tool shed at Bunnings.
Meanwhile, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 177,500 Australians aged 45 years and over who had previously retired had chosen to return to work, or were planning to, in 2016-17. Nearly half (42 per cent) chose to do it for financial reasons, while 32 per cent stated they were “bored and needed something to do”.