April 4, 2007
Australians should rethink their retirement plans and, for
the good of the nation, keep working into their mid to late 60s, John
Howard declared yesterday.
An extra 10 years at the coal face
would help ensure the country's future prosperity.
"That would make an enormous
difference," said the Prime Minister, who turns 68 this year.
"The big problem Australia's had
is far too many people retire at 55. Until quite recently, that cohort of
55-64 in Australia was less in work (than) in other relevant
Mr Howard said his comments were no
reflection of any plans he may have for his own retirement.
Union officials said Mr Howard should
provide older people with incentives and the flexibility to remain in the
president Sharon Burrow said strategies to delay retirement had previously
been rejected by the Government.
"Like the right to request
part-time work, the right to flexible hours of work should not be imposed
by an employer.
"The healthy option is for
people to have choices where they can retire on dignified retirement
incomes or they can, in fact, choose to work for periods of time in and
out of the workforce or on a part-time basis."
Labor workplace participation
spokeswoman Penny Wong said many older people wanted to keep working but
employers were reluctant to give them jobs.
"Lots of mature Australians tell
me they feel they get put out to pasture in their 50s, and the Howard
Government has done nothing to tackle this problem," Senator Wong
"We do need to encourage more
people to work and to work longer, but the Howard Government doesn't
really understand the problem."
Copyright © Global Action on Aging