Policies for Older People at 2022 Federal Election

COTA Australia has been keeping track of policies important to older people at the election, as they’re announced by parties and candidates. Our focus is on the twelve policy areas identified in our Policy Recommendations for the 47th Parliament.

Below, we have provided links to policies, when they seem to address (or not address) our recommendations. This is not an endorsement of any party, or any policy – in fact, we disagree with some of them. This information is provided to help inform older voters about what candidates and parties are saying about the issues that matter to us; good, bad, and indifferent.

Whole of Government

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Government adopt a Co-design Framework and Guidelines, and require annual reporting by Departments on codesign approaches with the full diversity of Older people for policy development and program delivery.

Recommendation 2: Establish a Productivity Commission inquiry into the costs of ageism in Australia, including particular terms of reference in relation to workplaces and health services.

Recommendation 3: Develop a whole-of-government strategy for older Australians and an ageing Australia, with annual reports of achievements against the strategy’s objectives and its action plans.

Relevant Announced Policies

None yet identified.

Aged Care

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 4: All parties to commit to and fund the whole of the integrated package of recommendations and timelines from the Aged Care Royal Commission, with the exception of the funding and financing recommendations.

Recommendation 5: By 30 June 2023, no one will wait more than one month from registration for care to receipt of a home service.

Recommendation 6: Advise the Fair Work Commission of government support for a substantial increase in aged care workers award rates of pay, and commit to funding the Fair Work Commission’s decision on the current Work Value case.

Relevant Announced Policies

Liberal – ‘More Support for Aged Care’ section of Supporting Senior Australians

Liberal National – Morrison Government’s response to the final report of the Aged Care Royal Commission

Labor – Aged Care Policies

Labor – Better Care: A Nurse in Every Nursing Home 24/7 and More Time to Care

Labor – Stronger Penalties to Protect Australians in Aged Care

Labor – Capping Home Care Administration and Management Fees

Labor – Better Food in Aged Care

Green – Aged Care Policies

Centre Alliance – ‘Ageing Population’ section of Policies

Centre Alliance – ‘Aged Care’ section of Health and Aged Care (Centre Alliance)

Allegra Spender – ‘Aged Care’ section of More Policies

Retirement Income

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 7: Consult on and deliver a comprehensive Government response to the Retirement Income Review 2020 by June 2023.

Recommendation 8: Commission a review of the adequacy of the Age Pension to maintain fair and appropriate living standards in retirement for every person dependent on the full rate of pension, with particular reference to ensuring appropriate parity with general living standards.

Recommendation 9: Change the Age Pension asset taper rate from $3.00/$1,000 to $2.25/$1,000.

Recommendation 10: Review the design and settings of the age pension work bonus and income testing policies to further encourage part-time, casual, seasonal, or self-employed work by age pension recipients.

Recommendation 11: Provide an opt-in alternative to pension deeming rates where a person can elect to advise actual earnings from financial products.

Recommendation 12: Mandate that superannuation funds be required to provide a ‘retirement income projection’ and other information on optimising retirement income, to fund members, at least every five years from age 45, based on a standardised set of criteria and variables set by APRA.

Recommendation 13: Create a regulated category of financial ‘digital advice’ from superannuation funds to members to provide non-personal but segmented advice on retirement income related decision-making.

Relevant Announced Policies

Liberal – ‘Supporting Pensioners’, ‘More Choices’, ‘Better performing super’ and ‘More Affordable Electricity’ sections of Supporting Senior Australians

Health

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 14: Uncap the number of Medicare funded allied health sessions.

Recommendation 15: Develop and fund a specific program to increase access to mental health services by older people.

Recommendation 16: Extend Medicare to include oral and dental health.

Recommendation 17: Prior to the implementation of Recommendation 16, fund up to $1,000 of oral health and dental care treatments per year, initially supporting older people on low incomes and people receiving aged care, including those in a nursing home. In addition, fund an ongoing, sustainable and higher-level the National Partnership Agreement on Public Dental Services to support state and territory public dental services.

Relevant Announced Policies

Liberal – ‘Better Health Care’ section of Supporting Senior Australians

Labor – Medicare and Your Health

Labor – Medicare Urgent Care Clinics

Labor – Supporting Our Nurses

Greens – Free Dental into Medicare

Greens – Health Policies

Greens – Health

Older Workers

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 18: Establish a roundtable to discuss solutions to match older workers with jobs for older applicants, including through use of online job boards.

Recommendation 19: Remove the requirement for older Australians who qualify for the disability pension to participate in the Job Support Program.

Recommendation 20: Strengthening the Career Transition Assistance (CTA) program through guaranteed ongoing funding, increased promotion to mature job seekers and improving referral pathways.

Relevant Announced Policies

Liberal – ‘More Choices’ section of Supporting Senior Australians

Labor – Secure Australian Jobs Plan

Housing

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 21: Develop a rolling ten year National Housing Strategy in cooperation with all States and Territories, with the involvement of Local Government and industry, that will significantly enhance the availability of secure, affordable, appropriate housing of choice for the diversity of the Australian population.

Recommendation 22: Increase availability of affordable rentals suitable for older women.

Recommendation 23: Government should fund trials of innovative housing models such as cooperative housing or co-ownership models, and shared equity models, appropriate for older women.

Recommendation 24: Establish an Inquiry into policy measures to better alleviate housing stress for people on low incomes in both the short and longer terms. In the interim, increase the maximum Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) rates by at least 50% immediately.

Recommendation 25: Fund the States and Territories to build sufficient public, social and low cost private housing to eliminate their waiting lists within the next two terms of Federal Parliament, including reinstating a National Rent Affordability Scheme (NRAS) type scheme, with better targeted criteria, to encourage building of more affordable low cost private rental properties.

Relevant Announced Policies

Liberal – ‘Helping homeowners who want to downsize’ section of Supporting Senior Australians

Labor – Safer and More Affordable Housing

Greens – One Million Homes

Age Discrimination

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 26: Direct and fund the Australian Law Reform Commission to undertake a review of age discrimination legislation in Australia with a view to developing laws that address age discrimination as a systemic issue that requires a variety of measures in order to reduce and eradicate it.

Relevant Announced Policies

None yet identified.

Older Women

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 27: Initiate an independent review to recommend policy measures to address systemic problems causes of older women’s poverty including redressing the gender pay gap within and between industries, paying superannuation during periods of Parental Leave and Carer’s Leave, reducing the cost of childcare, and other measures.

Recommendation 28: Ensure that domestic and family violence support services are inclusive of older women.

Relevant Announced Policies

Liberal – Helping with the Cost of Living

Labor – ‘A better deal for women’ section of Labor’s Secure Australian Jobs Plan

Elder Abuse

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 29: Consult on and fund the implementation of a 10 year strategy to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians 2024-2033.

Recommendation 30: Continue to fund and implement the current National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians 2019-2023, and commit to development of a more robust, detailed and accountable Plan for 2024 to 2033, which needs to be substantially better funded.

Recommendation 31: Fund the process of leading the States and Territories in the development of nationally consistent enduring Powers of Attorney (POA) laws, followed by a national register of POAs.

Relevant Announced Policies

None yet identified.

Digital Inclusion

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 32: Task all Government Departments building digital platforms with ensuring older people are consulted in their design and implementation, and the diversity of digital users (including a mix of skills, accessibility and other aspects) is respected and incorporated in the design and operation of digital platforms and services.

Recommendation 33: Develop nationwide education and support programs for older Australians to maintain online and offline engagement with Government.

Recommendation 34: Implement solutions that reduce the increasing cost of using digital platforms to enable effective and equitable digital access and autonomy, including by considering options to:

  • Mandate that all telecommunication providers provide a low-cost digital access plan, suitable for pensioners and those on low incomes,
  • Fund a “Pensioners Digital Supplement” for all pensioners and income support program recipients, and
  • Fund unmetered access to Government websites

Recommendation 35: Allow the use of State Government issued photo/age Cards on a voluntary basis for proof of identify via government digital ID verification services, in the same way that driver’s license can be used.

Relevant Announced Policies

Greens – Free NBN low income earners so no one left offline

Social Inclusion

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 36: Conduct a national consultation, including consultation with isolated older people, to develop a national response to social isolation through for social inclusion and participation initiatives.

Relevant Announced Policies

Liberal/National – Supporting Isolated Senior Australians to stay connected

Liberal/National – Seniors Connected Program

Voluntary Assisted Dying Laws

COTA Recommendations

Recommendation 37: The 47th Parliament should repeal the Federal Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, to allow Australian citizens in the ACT and NT the same rights as those in States to decide whether or not to adopt Voluntary Assisted Dying laws.

Relevant Announced Policies

Labor – Territory Rights to be progressed under Albanese Labor Government

Information for Parties and Candidates

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