CHANGING THE RULES: Longevity Innovation Hub's Everald Compton.
CHANGING THE RULES: Longevity Innovation Hub's Everald Compton.

Visionary wants old and young working together

THERE are three very important quality of life issues that are on the table for older Australians according to former National Seniors president and ageing advocate Everald Compton.

The articulate and passionate 85 year old and his Longevity Innovation Hub group want key changes - an independent tribunal to determine the aged pension, affordable housing issues resolved and intergenerational partnerships prosper.

Compton, who is a respected voice for a better deal for older Australians for more than 40 years, isn't backing away from finding ways to achieve these changes which he believes will meet the big cultural changes happening across the community.

"There is a growing feeling among younger Australians that they are going to be paying heavy taxes to keep older people alive, and not just with the pension, but also with the cost of health. And they feel that they have an unfair tax burden," Mr Compton said.

"There are a certain amount of people who are angry about the cost of ageing and that they are paying too much out of their taxes.

"We want to see a situation where we see younger and older people work together to take any intergenerational warfare out of it.

"The government seems to be blithely unaware that there is a lot of younger people out there angry about the costs of ageing.

"To best way to get over that is for young and old to work together for a better Australia," he added.

Mr Compton provided detail on what each recommended change should look like.

Independent Tribunal

A government-organised tribunal would be responsible for determining the size of the aged pension every year.

"Instead of it being a political decision," Mr Compton said.

"We want it done by an independent tribunal because the pension has been around for a 100 years and it will be around for another 100.

"We have drafted legislation which we think should go to the government and which we are trying to get going."

He believes that anyone other than a politician would should at the tribunal table.

"In the draft legislation we have drawn up, no member of parliament, no former member of parliament, no person who has been a member of a political party can be on it (the tribunal)," Mr Compton said.

Instead he wants to see eminent citizens who have completed a lot of community service, an economist, a social work expert and others that can make an independent decision based on the economics of the day with the knowledge of what older Australians need to keep them above the poverty line and one which parliament will respect.

Mr Compton reports he has met with 51 members and senators from all parties and is making some progress on this issue.

Affordable Housing

Mr Compton said there was very little supply for seniors wanting to downsize, but not live in a retirement village.

His group is pushing the government to make available either land or air space available free-of-charge. This is so that, "the land component, which is the highest component, can come out of the whole issue of housing and its price can drop considerably," Mr Compton said.

It's the cost of housing that is the biggest barrier for older Australians. "In Australia it is ridiculous," Mr Compton added.

"The government can give air space above government buildings to put up accommodation towers and have older, younger and handicap, all in the one building so you don't have retirement villages that become ghettos for older people."

His vision would see cross-generational living made available above railway stations, for example, with the cost of the land below taken out of the picture.

Intergenerational Partnerships

Mr Compton's group has formed a company, Wise Young, to help deal with a social need. Its mission is to bring together older people who want to engage with a working environment, with younger people leaving university and wanting a new career.

"We are putting them in small companies where they work together to achieve something," Mr Compton said.

"It's a mixture of wisdom and modern know-how.

"There are dozens of issues that need to be worked on, but these are three that we are working on at the moment," he added.

Ultimately Mr Compton wants to see the perception of older Australians as a burden on future generations disappear.

He would also dearly like to see a good economic result for the younger generation, which can only be achieved by both old and young working together.

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