Today I formally launched the Australian Institute for Population Ageing Research (AIPAR) at the University of New South Wales.
The AIPAR will help to inform debate about the challenges of our ageing population. It will also help to develop policy options for adapting to our changing population and take advantage of the opportunities this will bring.
The AIPAR has been developed within the University of New South Wales and has brought together researchers, government and industry.
The AIPAR will today also launch its new Longevity Index which will track the ability of an individual to maintain their living standards over their lifetime.
Population ageing is among Australia's most important long-term economic and social challenges.
The proportion of people aged 65 and over is projected to rise to 22 per cent in 2049, compared with around 13 per cent today, and 8 per cent in 1969.
The proportion of the population aged 85 and over is projected to increase most rapidly, rising from 1.7 per cent of the population in 2009 to 5.0 per cent in 2049.
As the ageing of the population increasingly impacts on GDP per capita and government spending per person, all levels of government will face growing fiscal pressures.
The Rudd Government is committed to tackling these challenges so that we can sustain and improve the quality of life of the Australian people well into the future.
We are delivering our reforms to encourage workforce participation – particularly among the ageing population - and invest in our productivity agenda.
At the same time we will continue to take the tough decisions needed to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability.
Measures such as the landmark reforms to the pension system announced in this year's Budget show the Rudd Government's commitment to responsible economic management, as well as to the dignity for older Australians.
The new Intergenerational Report being prepared by the Government is also central to the Government's plans to tackle the long-term economic challenges we face. The Intergenerational Report projects Australia's population will grow by 65 per cent to reach over 35 million people in 2049, up from around 21½ million people now.
This projection of 35 million people is significantly higher than the previous IGR projection of 28.5 million in 2047. The difference is largely driven by a greater number of women of childbearing age, higher fertility rates, and increased net overseas migration.
The Rudd Government is committed to tackling the hard reform challenges so we can build sustainable long-term prosperity for the future.
18 September 2009