Ken Morrison says our cities need to be transformed for our ageing population – and it’s not solely about nursing homes.
By 2050 Australia will have a population of 35 million – almost a quarter of whom will be over 65. And while we are ageing, our cities are growing. It’s not just aged care facilities and health care which will be under pressure but our cities as a whole — transport, outdoor spaces, housing, information access and security.
The Property Council’s Ken Morrison tells 3Q the problem is not isolated to the lack of nursing home places. With a declining tax base and a burgeoning number of elderly, the pressures on all tiers of government will be immense which is why making cities function now is more important than ever. Read his blog about age friendly cities.
As the Government promotes its policy of the elderly staying in their homes for longer, the Property Council is part of an organisation lobbying for all new homes to be built to universal design standards by 2020.
By building a house to last its occupants’ lifetimes, despite illness or disability, we will all be able to live independently for longer. Universal design ideas are already being implemented in Japan, Britain, Canada and Norway.
It’s all part of the AMWU’s campaign, Build Them Here, appealing to government to set local content targets on some of the massive construction and transport projects to ensure local manufacturers get contracts ahead of low cost overseas competitors — as is often the case in the mining industry.
Tim Ayres, the NSW secretary for the AMWU, tells 3Q that local manufacturers can build heavy infrastructure – they just need to be given the opportunity. In doing so, new jobs and apprenticeships will be created, valuable intellectual property is developed and the knock on effect strengthens the economy.
Nadine Flood questions whether governments take our science and other publicly funded breakthroughs for granted.
The CSIRO is one of Australia’s most respected institutions. The Bureau of Meteorology is crucial in times of impending climate crisis. They are also part of the public service. And though their specialty is science, other areas of the public sector are also responsible for innovation — from agricultural land use to new ways of fighting tax evasion.
It’s a concept that is often lost at Budget time when governments keen to trim down costs often take a knife to the public sector. It’s easy pickings if the millions of dollars saved or made by innovations in technology, energy and health fail to be counted as assets.
The CPSU’s Nadine Flood tells 3Q how the CSIRO’s development of wi-fi technology transformed the world and brought $500 million into Australia through patent fees. Yet if the Opposition has its way, crucial funding of the sciences and other public sector innovation would be lost.
Further cuts on the grounds of “efficiency” will have long term effects on our ability to innovate.