2007 Intergenerational Report Highlights the Need for Long-Term Reform Planning

Business today welcomed the release of the federal government’s 2007 Intergenerational Report, saying the report showed the importance of strategic policy action in tackling the challenges of an ageing population.

BCA Chief Executive, Katie Lahey, said the report’s finding that proactive workplace participation policies had led to increased workforce numbers was particularly significant, given this was the biggest barrier to reducing the projected fiscal deficit.

But at the same time, the issue of the ageing population required constant attention, with a number of important policies still to be put in place.

“Australia has a unique opportunity to set its sights higher to depart from past economic cycles that have seen the nation’s fortunes decline because of a failure to manage prosperity effectively,” Ms Lahey said.

“To sustain growth in the future, governments today need to shift their thinking to better manage long-term, supply-side challenges. These challenges are intergenerational.  To deal with them, governments must depart from ‘just-in-time’ fixes and adopt a mindset that involves more strategic decision making.

“The federal government, to its credit, initiated such an approach with its first Intergenerational Report.

“The 2002 Intergenerational Report prompted serious debates about how Australia might respond to the impacts of population ageing and highlighted that early, strategic action is by far the best response. 

“The BCA welcomes the release of the second Intergenerational Report and is looking forward to considering the federal government’s updated analysis.  The update will provide valuable information to inform policy development and help stimulate and broaden public debate on the key priorities for Australia’s future.

“The second Intergenerational Report should provide us with a better understanding of how policy responses and other trends to date have influenced Australia’s capacity to sustain growth and prosperity.  In so doing, this report will provide a revised discipline that should underpin future budgetary and broader policy debates in Australia,” she said.

The BCA will be incorporating the updated analysis and findings in its own long-term research agenda. 

In addition, because the BCA believes the Intergenerational Report has had such a significant impact, the BCA has called on governments across the board to use the report as a template to set out strategic frameworks for our nation to invest in far-ranging policy reforms.