top of page

The shape of Australia’s future

What will the Australian community look like in 40 years? We look at the key takeaways from the Intergenerational Report.


The 2023 Intergenerational Report (IGR) is a crystal ball insight into what we can expect Australian society to look like in 40 years and the needs of the community as we grow and evolve. It doesn’t map out our path to flying cars and Jetsons style robotic domestic help (unfortunately) but it does forecast structural trends that will give many of us a level of anxiety about what we need to be doing now to successfully navigate the future. 

The report links the continued growth and prosperity of Australia to five significant areas of influence:


We’re ageing



Thanks for the reminder. The number of people aged 65 and over will more than double and the number aged 85 and over will more than triple. We’re expected to live longer with the life expectancy of men increasing from 81.3 to 87 years and from 85.2 to 89.5 for women by 2062-63. And that’s a problem for the younger generation.


Who bears the burden of an ageing population?

Australia’s low birth rate, limited migration and increased longevity all have an impact. The old age percentage - the number of people aged 65 and over for every 100 people of traditional working age (15 to 64) in the population - will increase from 26.6% to 38.2%.

From a tax perspective, Australia’s reliance on personal tax means workers will bear an increasing proportion of the tax burden under current fiscal policy. In a recent interview, former Treasury boss Ken Henry labelled it an “intergenerational tragedy” with personal tax growing from 11.7% of GDP to 13.5% based on current policy. The report says that “only 12% of Australians aged 70 and over pay income tax and this age group now makes up 12.2% of the total population. This age group is expected to increase to 18.1% of the total population in 2062-63.” Wholesale tax reform will be required to prevent the growing tax burden on individuals dragging on the economy. With economic growth expected to slow to 2.2% from 3.1% over the next 40 years, the solution will not magically arise from corporate Australia. If it was not for our high rate of inflation you would think an increase to the GST was imminent.


Services and who pays

Demographic ageing alone is estimated to account for around 40% of the increase in Government spending over the next 40 years.

The outcome of an ageing population, as you would expect, is increased demand for care and support services that will push the Federal Budget back to a point where deficits are the norm if the current policies remain in place.

From a consumer perspective, it also means that the trend towards user-pays will only increase. As individuals, we need to ensure that we have the means to fund our old age because Government resources will be limited by increasing demand and this demand is funded by a deteriorating percentage of workers contributing to tax revenue.It's also likely that we will need to look at how we generate income. For some that might mean working longer, for others it is value adding - creating, buying and selling assets in some form, whether that is business, innovation, or through more traditional assets such as property or financial products.


Superannuation the size of a nation

Australia currently has the fourth largest pool of retirement assets in the world, with total superannuation balances projected to grow from 116% of GDP in 2022-23 to around 218% by 2062-63. Our superannuation system will be what underwrites retirement for most Australians. At present, around 70% of people over aged pension age receive some form of Government income support. Over time, and as our superannuation system matures, this percentage is expected to decline sharply as a percentage of GDP with Government support supplementing rather than providing for retirement (the first generation of workers with superannuation guarantee throughout their working life hit retirement age around 2058).

However, the IGR points out that, “the cost of superannuation concessions will increase, driven by earnings on the larger superannuation balances held by Australians.” The proposed tax on future earnings on super balances above $3m may not be the last.

You can expect the management of superannuation to be a priority for Government to ensure that retirement savings are maximised to reduce the reliance on Government support, and to ensure that this enormous pool is leveraged for the gain of not only members, but the nation.


Growth of services

Like most advanced economies, global competition has shifted Australia’s industrial base from the production of goods to services. Ninety percent of jobs are now in services.

With an ageing population, demand for health and care services is expected to soar. People aged 65 or older currently account for around 40% of total Australian health expenditure, despite being about 16% of the population. The IGR estimates that the workforce required to support this sector will need to be twice the size of what it is now to meet demand by 2049-50.

The Government’s biggest spending pressures will be health, aged care, the NDIS, defence and interest payments on government debt. Of these, the NDIS is the fastest growing at 7% per year.


Comments


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page