Can Australia afford the boomers?

Article published 28 May 2019

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CAN Australia afford babyboomer Australians? That‘s the question the Parliamentary Budget Office, or PBO, tries to answer in a report recently published.

THE VOICE doesn’t want to keep its readers in suspense, so here’s the PBO’s answer: yes, Australia can afford babyboomers with room to spare.

In ten years’ time, babyboomers will cost the 2028-29 Budget $20 billion more in lost revenue, because babyboomers will mostly not be paying income tax. However, growth will generate $187 billion in additional revenue.

Babyboomers will cost $16 billion more in Age Pensions, aged care and health, but younger generations will also cost the 2028-29 Budget more, $104 billion to be precise.

So all up in ten years’ time, expenditure will be up $120 billion while revenue will be up $187 billion. Not so bad. So, yes, Australia can afford its babyboomers.

Apart from being a reassuring answer, it’s also an important one when you look at the challenges in public housing, aged care and health, particularly dental health.

Older Australians should not hold back in demanding aged care be fixed and a universal public dental health scheme be introduced.

Good aged care available to anyone who needs it when they need it is going to cost more, but Australia can afford it.

A universal public dental health scheme is going to cost more than the gimcrack state and territory schemes we currently have, but Australia can afford it.

In fact, Australia is a rich country and can put in fixes not only for aged care and public dental health, but also for other pressing and urgent problems such as public housing, homelessness and mental health.

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