Does how Australia will look in 40 years really matter? When all the Baby Boomers have retired and the Generation Xers are trying to as well will our country regret not thinking about it? The impact of decisions made now is surely important to the future, and from where I sit today, the likelihood of economic stress, challenged health systems and a radically different economy look likely. So why don’t we want to know now and plan ahead?
The Intergenerational Report has this weekend been “pushed back” until next year, putting off the release of the only document that will likely shine light on the shocking mismanagement of generational change in Australia. Both governments are guilty with the Labor Government last year pushing it to the far side of the last election. Now Mr Hockey has elected to bury it until next year too and it is not surprising seeing as many of the proposed Budget changes that would support intergenerational change in the future are likely to be shelved this week. Is the truth about population ageing and the mismanagement of resources to support it so bad that we need to ignore it a little longer?
Should understanding the future impacts of today’s policies be a bipartisan obligation of Government that cannot be delayed? As one of the older generations in Australia you can remember earlier years of politics and the impacts they have had on where our nation is today… so do you think we should be paying attention to long term reporting and predictions for the future and stop delaying?
The Intergenerational Report is a report mandated under federal law that exposes how the country is predicted to far over the coming 40 years. The last edition was released in January 2010 and predicted Australia would be as large as 36 million people in 2040.
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The last report uncovered deep deficits that the Government would face in 40 years time, based on today’s trends. It will show fewer taypayers, and ever higher spending in government alongside a need to support our ageing population. It will also show how little we are actually doing to think about the future because of it’s long term political nature, and the “short termism” that thrives in today’s politics.
“What the IGR will do is illustrate that the massive growth in costs associated with an ageing population have simply become more urgent for Australia to address,” Mr Hockey said when delaying the report.
The new report will no doubt spark an enormous debate about where our country’s resources need to go in terms of spending, social services and expectations for the future. It may respark the debate my accountant assures me is coming over GST and the need for an increase. And we’ll no doubt have to reconsider how we fund healthcare.
But it has again been delayed… at what cost to our future? Possibly none. Possibly great.
“The IGR will come out early next year — not late this year but early next year,” Mr Hockey told The Australian. “That will create a framework that will help define the destiny of the federation white paper, the tax white paper and the budget next year.
“So it is a document that will begin the national discussion about where our economy must go — which is to focus on growth and jobs, and to reduce the complexity and red tape of government.”
Share your thoughts today. Do you feel we, as a national have planned well enough for the future that we can delay looking into it?