McLeod at COTA conference urges policy with ‘staying power’ on question of ageing Australia | 21 July 2015

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TMcHeadshotTravers McLeod, CEO of the Centre for Policy Development, recently spoke at the Council on the Ageing’s Victoria Annual Conference, urging the adoption of resilient policy packages in response to structural challenges.

‘Our policy solutions need staying power; they need to outlast political cycles,’ McLeod noted.

McLeod observed six instances where significant change was necessary to ensure long-term goals were achieved.

  • framing;
  • retirement incomes;
  • health spending;
  • innovation;
  • intergenerational stewardship;
  • democratic renewal.

On the question of framing, McLeod suggested the ageing population must be viewed as an opportunity, not a burden. ‘What’s disappointing about the framing of the ageing debate is that it verges on treating older Australians as a commodity,’ McLeod noted.

Meanwhile, health spending needs to disengage from artificial outputs, and focus instead on outcomes. ‘Are we looking at incentives and outputs or outcomes? Incentives like moving patients who shouldn’t be moved to fit in with time constraints are poor incentives,’ McLeod observed. ‘The future of care is in the home, not the hospital and it must be directed to outcomes, not individual services or beds.’

Three changes to intergenerational stewardship were suggested. First, the way employment is measured. ‘We need to look at how we value and measure work; why do we only count paid work when voluntary hours are a growing part of the total output.’ Second, adoption of a better, more holistic index such as the European Commission’s Active Ageing Index. ‘What we measure counts – GDP overlooks many crucial aspects of our individual and collective wellbeing.’ Third, McLeod urged a longer view on education.

McLeod’s speech was reported on by Simon Garner for The Senior (p. 11) from July 2015. A clipping of the piece can be found here.

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