5 December 2018
The Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria is today calling for more actions to reduce the cost of living pressures for older Victorians in response to a new landmark national report launched today in Canberra.
The State of the (Older) Nation 2018 Report is the most comprehensive national study ever undertaken to seek the views of Australians aged over 50 years.
COTA Victoria CEO Ronda Held said the report highlighted the need for action to address the rising costs of living.
“The national survey highlights that the rising costs of living are of great concern. One in four older Australians feel insecure about their finances, with 12 per cent of older people struggling with overdue bills, particularly energy bills,” COTA Victoria CEO Ronda Held said.
“One in five people surveyed had no money to spend on leisure and social activities. This is turn can lead to social isolation and loneliness, which can also affect people’s physical and mental health”.
The State of the (Older) Nation 2018 Report showed that non-working renters are significantly more likely than other older Australians to rate their quality of life as poor (0-3 out of 10) and the affordability and security of current living arrangements as poor (0-3 out of 10).
“In Victoria, we know from the Rental Affordability Index, that the average single pensioner living in Melbourne spends 68 per cent of their pension on rent,” Ms Held said.
“For those older people on a single pension this means about $19 a day left to pay for everything else they need including paying their bills for energy and water, buying food and clothing, let alone participating in activities with their families and friends, and it’s even less per person if you’re a couple.
“We know from the older people with whom we engage that those people more vulnerable to high living costs often put themselves last, which leads to poorer health and social outcomes. This is not the journey of ageing we want for older people.”
The COTA Federation seeks a commitment from all political parties and all levels of Government to develop a comprehensive long-term national strategy to address the needs of older Australians – including raising rent assistance by 40%; taking a whole-of-government approach to budget funding; and reducing ageism, particularly age discrimination in the workplace so more older people can continue to work.
The report investigated a myriad of issues, including: employment, age discrimination, cost of living, financial security, health, home and aged care, housing, later life planning, consumer rights and transport.
The State of the (Older) Nation 2018 Report will be online at www.stateoftheoldernation.org.au from 6am on 5 December.
Media enquiries: COTA Victoria CEO Ronda Held 0450 785 437