3 December 2012
With Aged Care Policy on the brink of reform, CEPAR along with
the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU gathered together
Australia's foremost experts on Aged Care reform on 4 December
2012. Joining them were the Federal Minister for Ageing, Mark
Butler and two international experts: Dr Joshua Weiner from RTI
International and Dr Jose-Luis Fernandez from the London School of
Economics and Political Science. Also in attendance were 160
academics, policy makers and representatives from across the aged
19 November 2012
The ERA conference is the only national
conference in Australia focusing exclusively on the work of higher
degree research students undertaking research in ageing. Based at
Monash University and supported by the ARC Centre for
Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) the ERA initiative provides a
number of opportunities for emerging researchers across a range of
Dr Kerry Sargent-Cox
25 Oct 2012
New research to be presented today demonstrates a link between
an older person's attitude to ageing and their mortality. The
Self-Perceptions of Ageing and Health research will be presented as
part of today's Symposium on the Psychology of Health and Ageing
hosted by the Centre for Ageing Health and Wellbeing based at the
Australian National University.
ROUNDTABLE WITH THE AGE DISCRIMINATION COMMISSIONER
30 August 2012
Susan Ryan, Australia's newly appointed Age Discrimination
Commissioner, spent a morning at a Roundtable with researchers at
the UNSW node of CEPAR last month. A two hour conversation with
several CEPAR researchers covered a wide range of topics - mature
labour force participation and the barriers to working longer, the
age pension and superannuation, age discrimination in aged care,
discrimination implications of cognitive decline, the co-ordination
of driver licence provisions for older people, and the impacts of
exclusion on older men.
On the Commission's side of the table were Susan Ryan, and her
advisors Dimity Hodge and Fabienne Balsamo. CEPAR Director John
Piggott was joined by Bob Cumming, Hal Kendig, and Peter McDonald,
along with Associate Investigator Kate O'Loughlin and Research
Fellow Kerry Sargent-Cox.
Various areas of common interest were identified, including
productive ageing and attitudes to older cohorts, and analysis of
the participation of older workers. Susan Ryan said "I am greatly
encouraged to see at CEPAR the range and depth of research highly
relevant to older Australians and my work as Age Discrimination
"The ageing demographic is a top issue for the 21st century, in
Australia and globally. New, quality research is needed to inform
good policy. CEPAR's work will establish Australia's leading
position in this crucial area."
John Piggott also found the roundtable valuable. "We are
really pleased that Susan found the time to bring her team to
CEPAR. Interactions of this kind improve understanding all around.
CEPAR now has a better grasp of what the Age Discrimination
Commissioner sees as the important priorities in her portfolio, and
why. And that helps us adjust our thinking about what the important
CEPAR is developing an on-going relationship with the Age
Commissioner's Office. We are in dialogue about financial
competence and information concerning retirement products, and
early in September John Piggott presented at the Commission
conference focused on mature labour force participation and
The Roundtable format will be repeated next month with a
full-day session at FaHCSIA in Canberra, involving most of the
CEPAR CIs and several affiliated staff. It is one of several ways
in which CEPAR is seeking to reach out to policymakers.
15 August 2012
Two CEPAR researchers have won the prestigious Melville Financial Services Prize from
the Institute of Actuaries of Australia for their research into how
regulators and regulatory requirements impact prices for longevity
insurance products in the form of life annuities.
Professor Michael Sherris,
Dr Katja Hanewald
(pictured) along with Maathumai Nirmalendran, a recent UNSW Honours
graduate now with Finity Consulting, won the award for their paper
A Comparison and Economic Analysis of
International Solvency Regimes for Annuity Markets.
Sherris, Hanewald and Nirmalendran received the award for their
presentation and paper at the Actuaries Institute Financial Services Forum held in
Melbourne from 30 April - 2 May. The President of the Institute of
Actuaries of Australia, David Goodsall, presented the award at a
gala dinner in Sydney last night.
The trio said they were honoured to receive the accolade. "This
was an unexpected surprise. There were many high quality papers and
we are delighted to have won. This award is a great recognition for
the research that we are conducting at CEPAR and, in particular, it
is recognition by the Actuaries Institute. We would like to thank
the Institute for its ongoing support of academic research that
contributes to current issues," Professor Sherris said.
"It is important to take up issues of interest to industry while
at the same time produce high quality research that will contribute
to the academic literature and our understanding of critical
issues," Dr Hanewald said.
READ FULL MEDIA RELEASE
From L to R: Professor Michael Sherris, David Goodsall,
Dr Katja Hanewald and Maathumai Nirmalendran
12 July 2012
"We don't have a
pension system. We have a lump sum payment system."
"A lump sum payment
system is hardwired into us in Australia. People like lump
sums." JEREMY COOPER, CHALLENGER
In a conference address at the University of New South Wales,
Australia's first Minister for Superannuation, former Senator Nick
Sherry, discussed the major challenges facing Australia's defined
contribution superannuation system.
According to Nick Sherry, the critical challenges at the moment
are volatility, risk and long term performance.
"Super is long term. Members should focus on the rate of return
over 20 years, not annually. The focus of reporting to members
should be on long term rates of return," Nick Sherry said.
CEPAR People Part of ANU's New Institute of Public Policy
12 April 2012
The Australian National University's newly established Institute
of Public Policy, associated with the Crawford School of Public
Policy, recognises the importance of population ageing as a public
policy issue, with two of CEPAR's Chief Investigators listed among
the Institute's nine Inaugural Public Policy Fellows.
Professor Peter McDonald, Director
of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, and
Professor Kaarin Anstey, Director of
ANU's Centre for Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, both CEPAR CIs, were
among the nine.
Dr Ken Henry, a member of CEPAR's Leaders Forum, has been
appointed as the Institute's Executive Chairman.
READ MORE >
22 March 2012
New research by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population
Ageing Research (CEPAR) reveals an increase in levels of anxiety
and depression among older Australians as a result of the Global
The study looked at the impact of the GFC on 1973 older
Australians with a median age of 66, and found a significant
increase in levels of anxiety and depression during and after the
The research, conducted by CEPAR researchers Kerry Sargent-Cox*
and Kaarin Anstey** along with Peter Butterworth from the
Australian National University, showed that most people did not
feel the full impact during the height of the crisis but their
levels of anxiety increased further post-GFC.
"The general expectation is that, now that the worst of the GFC
is over, people's lives should be back to normal and they should be
feeling better about retirement, but that is not the case,"
"In the GFC there was a great expectation that everyone was
suffering," she says. "The protective effect of that on an
individual is that they are suffering along with everyone else and
so they are not that badly off," Sargent-Cox says.
The GFC has impacted the baby boomer generation (those born
between 1946 and 1964) in particular because of the self-funded
nature of their retirement. "It is very important to these people
that they have the money there to retire on. The baby boomer
generation has expectations of a high standard of living and there
would be nothing worse than to think they couldn't maintain that
Read the full study, The Global
Financial Crisis and Psychological Health in a Sample of Australian
Older Adults. The study also features on the
Australian School of Business Knowledge website.
CEPAR is a new research centre focusing on the economic, social
and health impacts of population ageing. It is a collaboration
between three leading universities, the Australian and NSW
Governments, and industry partners.
Sargent-Cox is a Postdoctoral Fellow at CEPAR and is
based at the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing at
the Australian National University.
is a Chief Investigator with CEPAR and is the Director, Centre for
Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing at the Australian National
19 January 2012
Should superannuation portfolio allocations be adjusted with age
to reduce the financial exposure of senior Australians to
stock-market crashes? That's one of the issues that can be
addressed by Professor John Piggott, the Director of the ARC Centre
of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR).
"It is essential to take age and wealth into account in deciding
on an individual's asset allocations, including the
government-mandated low-cost MySuper."
Professor Piggott has responded to calls by the architect of the
federal government's superannuation reforms, Jeremy Cooper, who
has today commented that stock-market crashes indicate fund
managers should invest more in bonds, particularly for members
nearing retirement who have less time to recoup losses. He
highlights the way baby boomers who were just about to enter
retirement lost a lot of wealth during the 2008-09 stock market
crash, when the ASX 200 fell about 50 per cent.
Professor Piggott agrees. "Australian superannuation is
constituted to a very unusual design and we rely very heavily on
self-funded or privately funded superannuation to provide
retirement income, much more heavily than most other countries. We
need to be especially aware of the connection between an
individual's circumstances and the portfolio he has in his
superannuation fund, and make portfolio allocation as flexible as
Australia is one of many countries with a rapidly ageing
population. However there are few products that provide longevity
insurance, which is protection against the risk of individuals
living too long, running out of cash and then relying on the
"We also need to have more superannuation products," he says.
"It is probably best early on in life for savers to invest in the
stock market - they can ride out the natural peaks and troughs, and
gain the benefits of a long term investment. However later on, when
workers are approaching retirement, they really need to put their
assets in a less volatile investment, such as bonds. If a default
system is to be introduced on a mandatory basis then there should
bemultipledefaults determined by an individual's age and
18 January 2012
The Australian School of Business and the ARC Centre
of Excellence in Population Ageing Research will host the ninth
annual Centre for Applied Economic Research Summer Workshop in
As Australia's population ages the pressure on our health system
is increasing. Maintaining viable public and private health care
systems is crucial to meeting the growing demand, but what impact
does the Medicare Levy Surcharge have on private health insurance
The effect of the Medicare Levy Surcharge on private health
insurance is one of the key issues that will be debated by leading
health economic researchers at the upcoming conference.
The CAER Summer Workshop in Health Economics will be held
at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Coogee on 2nd and 3rd February 2012. It
is a diverse program featuring the latest research from seven
universities across Australia as well as industry groups.
CEPAR Director, Professor John Piggott, says the two-day
workshop is an opportunity for participants to find out about new
research on a range of topics, including the health benefits of
marriage, the effects of alcohol availability on mortality, the
economic legacy of childhood health and the life-cycle effects of
For more information or to register for this free workshop visit
the CAER website at http://www.caer.unsw.edu.au/
3 May 2012
Retirement plans for people relying on rising property prices
could be at risk following the latest drop in house prices and
ongoing volatility in the housing market.
Figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of
Statistics revealed the average price of established houses in the
capital cities fell by 4.5 per cent compared to the previous year.
The 1.1 per cent fall in the March quarter was the fifth in a
The ABS figures confirm that house prices in Australia have been
relatively high for a while based on a number of indicators. The
prospect of attractive growth rates in Australian house prices is
no longer what it was.
Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence in
Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Professor Michael Sherris,
believes people who rely on property to help pay for their
retirement incorrectly assume that it will continue to
"When planning for retirement, it is important that people take
into account the volatility of house prices and don't assume the
value of their home will consistently rise," Professor Sherris
"Many people approaching retirement with less superannuation as
a result of the GFC will now find their house is worth less than
they expected. It's a double whammy," Professor Sherris said.
The University of New South Wales based ARC Centre of Excellence
in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) is a unique collaboration
bringing together academia, government and industry to produce
world-class research on one of the major social challenges of the
Professor Sherris, along with Dr Katja Hanewald, authored a
recent study analysing the volatility of housing prices across
Sydney. The study is one of the most comprehensive of the Sydney
housing market. Based on data provided by Sydney-based company
Residex, the study analysed Sydney house prices by postcode from
1979 to 2011.
"We found that Sydney house prices have had strong growth but at
the same time the volatility has been much higher than most
individuals and commentators would imagine. Also, the growth rates
have varied significantly across postcode areas in the Sydney area
and over time," Professor Sherris said.
"The fall in house prices in the last year is well within the
uncertainty in house price growth rates that the CEPAR models would
suggest, based on historical Sydney house price data. This
highlights how, although house price changes can be slow moving,
they can also be relatively substantial and adverse. They may not
be noticed by individuals until they decide to or need to sell
their property," Dr Hanewald said.
READ MEDIA RELEASE >
18 April 2012
CEPAR investigator Professor Colette
Browning from Monash University has been appointed
Honorary Professor at Peking University and co-director of the
university's new health and ageing research centre.
Professor Browning received the accolade at an official ceremony
in Beijing attended by senior Chinese government and university
It is recognition of her research contribution and collaboration
with Chinese universities and institutions as she is one of only
nine Australians in Health Sciences in the past 28 years to receive
"This is a tremendous reward for lots of hard work. Over the
past seven years we have worked with our Chinese colleagues in the
areas of healthy ageing, primary health care, chronic illness
management and hospital quality improvement," Professor Browning
The ceremony also included the launch of the new Research Centre
for Ageing and Health Services at Peking University. Along
with Professor Tuohong Zhang, Professor Browning is Co-Director of
the Centre. It includes scholars from Chinese universities,
including Tsinghua University, Renmin University, and Peking Union
Medical College as well as scholars from Korea, Japan and the
"China is facing a massive challenge in terms of its ageing
population well in advance of the levels of economic prosperity
reached in developed countries that are experiencing the same
demographic changes. The Centre will conduct research that
will inform healthy ageing, aged care practice and policy in
China," Professor Browning said.
Professor Browning's strong links with Peking University will
facilitate international collaboration for CEPAR members.
Left to Right: Professor Peiyu Wang, Professor
Tuohong Zhang, Peking University; Professor Colette Browning, Dr
Yang Hui, Monash University.
24 April 2012
The importance of longitudinal studies in determining future
health outcomes was the theme of a CEPAR sponsored healthy ageing
seminar led by internationally renowned expert on healthy life
expectancy, Professor Carol Jagger.
Professor Jagger, from Newcastle University in the United
Kingdom and Partner Investigator with CEPAR, was the keynote
speaker at the 'Ageing Well: Evidence for a Healthy Future' seminar
attended by 130 academics, gerontologists, policy officials and
The seminar was jointly hosted by the Australian Association of
Gerontology (NSW), CEPAR, Hunter Medical Research Institute Public
Health Program, the University of Sydney and the Sax Institute.
With an ageing population, longitudinal health studies are an
increasingly important way to try to better predict future health
trends, such as the incidence of chronic diseases, obesity and
depression. Research from a range of important longitudinal studies
was discussed at the seminar.
Professor Jagger presented newly released data on the Healthy Life Years Indicator (HLY),
which measures the number of years people in the European Union are
expected to live free from disability. It
is an important long term study of the
relative health of the population.The research showed the average
healthy life expectancy is almost the same for men and women across
the Eurozone. The latest data found that men and women living in
the European Union can expect to live disability free to the age of
"The study shows the usual differences
between men and women in that women live longer at all ages, but
women have roughly the same number of healthy life years as men,"
Professor Jagger said.
According to Professor Jagger, these findings have implications
for lifting the retirement age. "In Europe it doesn't look like
some people over the age of 65 are healthy enough to remain in the
workforce. If you look at healthy life years at age 50, that's
actually less than 15 years - up to age 65 - in some countries. So
that would mean a significant proportion of the population are
already unhealthy or would not be healthy at 65."
As in Australia, the issue of population ageing is of growing
concern in Europe. In 1950 the proportion of Europeans aged over 65
years was less than 10 per cent. That figure will reach 25 per cent
by 2050 but climb to 35 per cent in some countries, including Italy
The latest research from Australian longitudinal health studies
was presented by CEPAR Chief Investigator, Professor
Hal Kendig; CEPAR Associate Investigator, Professor
Julie Byles; and Associate Professor Vasi Naganathan
from Sydney University Medical School.
READ MEDIA RELEASE >
L to R: Anthony Brown (AAG), Carol
Jagger, Julie Byles, Vasi Naganathan, Hal
19 April 2012
The Australian Government today announced that CEPAR's research
on population ageing and productive ageing will be used by a new
expert panel to inform future policy initiatives.
In its response to the report of the Advisory Panel on the
Economic Potential of Seniors, the Federal Government announced it
would establish a new Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing. The Panel
will run for two years to consult with communities and senior
Australians on policy issues, and inform the Government's ageing
The government's response to the report stated that the new
Advisory Panel "will draw on the work of the ARC Centre of
Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) in providing
advice to government".
READ MEDIA RELEASE >
10 September 2012
Australia's GDP could be four per cent higher if it had the same
mature labour force participation rates as some comparison
countries, such as New Zealand. New research released by the ARC
Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research reveals an
increase in workforce participation rates for people aged 55 and
above would result in a significant economic boost for the country.
A ten percentage point increase in the participation of these
workers could increase GDP by four percent.
Read John Piggott's Opinion in the Australian
Read CEPAR's briefing
READ FULL MEDIA RELEASE >
10 July 2012
In an address at today's Australian Conference of Economists
(ACE 2012), CEPAR Director, John Piggott discussed the main
barriers preventing older people from working.
Professor Piggott told the audience of 100 delegates that the
main challenges facing mature-aged workers are declining health,
caring responsibilities, and age discrimination.
He discussed the importance of the 2010 National Employment
Standards which include flexible arrangements for child care and
said this flexibility should be extended to include care of adults
"We need to tackle age discrimination in the workplace and
reduce the barriers for older workers. The ageing of Australia's
population is going to have serious implications on our economy if
older workers participation rates remain static. Lifting
participation rates by 10 percent for workers aged 55-69 will
significantly reduce the financial pressure associated with our
ageing society," Professor Piggott said.
ACE 2012 -The Future of Economics: Research, Policy and
Relevance- is being held this week at Victoria University in
Melbourne. Delegates are drawn from government, industry and
academia, representing current and future policy analysts and
business decision makers. CEPAR is proud to be one of the sponsors
of the conference.
READ MEDIA RELEASE >
View Professor Piggott's presentation slides
View Professor Mitchell's presentation slides
View Phil Gallagher's presentation slides
11 July 2012
CEPAR research on topics as varied as rural migration in China,
the impact of the government's superannuation rate increase, and
the optimal home equity release product will be showcased this week
at the 20th Annual Colloquium of Superannuation
Nine CEPAR research staff will present at the conference,
including CEPAR Partner Investigator Olivia S. Mitchell, from the
Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
About 100 delegates are expected to attend the Colloquium, which
is being hosted by the CPS Research Group at the University of New
South Wales on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th
Former Senator and Minister for Superannuation and Corporate
Law, Nick Sherry, will open the Colloquium, and will be followed by
Jeremy Cooper from Challenger.
The annual Colloquium is an opportunity for superannuation and
pension experts from around the world to share their research. This
year the conference is hosting presenters from the United Kingdom,
Italy, the United States, Japan, China, and New Zealand.
"The Colloquium has a strong tradition of attracting
leading international experts and we are delighted to be part of
the program," Professor Piggott said.
READ MEDIA RELEASE AND PRESENTATION ABSTRACTS
CEPAR Helps Raise Funds For Carers Australia
1 April 2012
A group of 60 bike riders has helped
to connect isolated carers who are looking after some of the most
frail and vulnerable people in our community by raising almost
$500,000 to establish a carers network.
The cyclists raised the money for
Carers Australia through the Pollie Pedal, an annual charity bike ride
started by Tony Abbott. Since it began in 1998, cyclists have
ridden 14,000 kilometres and raised nearly $2 million for
charity. This year's ride started in Geelong on 25 March and
finished in Canberra on 1 April.
CEPAR staff member, Kate Miranda, joined the bike ride, cycling
more than 400km to help raise money for Carers Australia - the peak
body representing carers. She rode alongside staff members from
Medibank Private, one of the major sponsors of the event and one of
Carers Australia CEO, Ara Cresswell, says there are 2.6 million
carers in Australia and as with the Australian population
generally, carers are ageing. In 1998 three in five primary
carers were aged 55 years and over (60%). In 2009 this age
group accounted for three in four primary carers (75%).
'It is imperative that we provide services and support for those
who care for our aged. Carers provide a strong foundation to our
aged care system, and without them the system would collapse,' Ms
The funds raised will be used to establish a website to connect
carers with support services and create a carers network, which
will be particularly important for carers in regional and rural
Click here for more information or to donate to
Carers Australia >
Alex Unwin from Bicycle NSW, Tony Abbott with
73-year-old cyclist Charles Olsson