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Exploring current and future challenges for retirement incomes

policy dialogue

Over 120 policymakers, researchers and commentators explored Australian and international retirement policy designs at the CEPAR/Crawford Policy Dialogue, held at the Australian National University (ANU) on November 1, 2018.

Presented by CEPAR and the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU, the Policy Dialogue on Retirement Incomes brought together leading Australian and international experts to consider current and future challenges for this policy area.

“While the Australian retirement system compares well internationally and is among the most sustainable, there are challenges that need to be addressed. This dialogue assessed Australian policy design, explored international trends and canvassed recommendations for reform,” said CEPAR Director and UNSW economist Scientia Professor John Piggott.

“In recent times, a range of government initiatives and enquiries have placed our retirement incomes system in the spotlight, and the day served to place these in context,” he said.

“With increasing emphasis on self-provision and more than $2.5 trillion in superannuation assets under management in Australia, the Dialogue also discussed the implementation of policy in the context of a choice and guidance framework,” he said.

Professor Axel Borsch-Supan, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Economics of Aging, discussed international developments in retirement incomes policy, with a focus on demographic and structural challenges, and explored some of the more innovative reform ideas coming out of Europe. He was joined on stage by a panel comprising UNSW CEPAR Chief Investigators and leading experts in pension economics, Scientia Professor John Piggott and Professor Hazel Bateman, and ANU Honorary Professor of Public Policy, Andrew Podger.

David Knox, Senior Partner at Mercer, led a session focused on challenges with the Australian design, assessing the adequacy, sustainability and integrity of the Australian model as well as recommendations for reform. Participating in the discussion were Darren Kennedy, Principal Advisor, Retirement Income Policy Division from the Commonwealth Treasury together with Professor Peter Whiteford, a CEPAR Associate Investigator and expert in social policy at the ANU’s Crawford School.

Leading the discussion about the implementation of policy in the context of a choice and guidance framework was Jeremy Cooper, Chairman at Challenger and CEPAR Chief Investigator Marian Baird, Professor of Gender and Employment Relations of The University of Sydney. Panellists Professor Susan Thorp, an expert in household and consumer finance and a CEPAR Associate Investigator, and Mike Orszag, Head of Research at CEPAR's partner organisation Willis Towers Watson provided additional perspectives.

“The aim of the dialogue is to provide a platform for knowledge exchange, compare national and international developments in the field and contribute to the development of policy in Australia and abroad,” said Professor Piggott.

“We want to enable individuals, businesses and governments to respond better to demographic change and improve wellbeing by providing research evidence,” he said.

The presentations are available online at the Policy Dialogue on Retirement Incomes webpage


Video recordings

Session I

Session II

Session III