There is cause for celebration as Australia’s population hit 23 million this week, which is a testament to the resilience of our economy and democracy.

But put down your party hats and whistles and as the Commonwealth Government has done little to ensure the large retiring Boomer generation don’t force younger generations in to tax servitude to fund their aged pensions and healthcare.

Over the last 18 months the Government’s $70 million mature age worker and job seeker initiatives have been cut, revamped or remain at the pilot stage. These were crucial programs that aimed to get older job seekers get work and help employers plan for mass retirements in the next 20 years.

The Minister of Workforce Participation, Kate Ellis, and the Australian Public Service, have much to answer for failing to properly design, implement and promote these crucial initiatives, which have destiny implications for the nation.

According to the 2010 Intergenerational Report, the worst-case scenario is that by 2050, government spending will outstrip revenue by 2.75 per cent of GDP, with half of all government-spending going towards health care and the aged pension.

In Adelaide last year, the proportion of all people aged 50-64 in employment was lower than in any of the other capital city. South Australia desperately needs health and aged care workers now. By doing next to nothing in the mature age area, how will we defray outlays in the future?

Even though the $10 million Jobs Bonus for older job seekers was launched last April, it has taken the Government 12 months to attract 84 candidates. The Government could do less but I don’t see how.

Over the last 12 months, the Government has scrapped three important mature age initiatives: On the Job Support, Experience Plus Training, and Job Transition Support. These programs helped both employers and workers - especially those in manual labour - learn new skills through training. None of these programs were promoted.

The $25.8 million Experience+ Work Ready program hopes to provide job-hunting skills and basic IT literacy training for people 50+. After nine months of planning, Work Ready is still not ready.

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research’s $20 million Investing in Experience (Skills Recognition & Training) program is under enrolled and has not been promoted. It’s almost a philosophical problem. If a Government program exists but no one knows about it, does it really exist?

The $15.6 million Champions project, which helps employers prepare for the mass transition of the Boomers to retirement, is floundering as the Government launched it too late in the electoral cycle. Prime Minister Gillard’s call for a September 14 poll has squibbed employer interest. Why should employers sign up to a program that will be scrapped if and when the Coalition is elected?

There is growing unrest amongst younger generations that they will be stuck with not only having to look after Mum and Dad or Grandpa and Grandma, but will be highly taxed to fund their pensions, pharmaceuticals and healthcare needs.

Generational inequity leads to intergenerational turmoil and that’s not a legacy we want to leave our children.

Source: The Advertiser

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