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Ageing boomers will be asset not burden: PM

OLDER Australians deserve greater choice and control over their care arrangements, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says, as she opens a new front in her "decision and delivery" agenda.

OLDER Australians deserve greater choice and control over their care arrangements, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says, as she opens a new front in her "decision and delivery" agenda.

Ms Gillard today will call for a new way of looking at the ageing issue and say baby boomers will make different retirement demands than past retirees.

Speaking in Melbourne ahead of Monday's release of a Productivity Commission report on aged care, she will reject the "burden" theory of ageing.

Older Australians need to be looked at "as an asset to be valued, rather than a problem to be solved", she will tell a function organised by the left-leaning Per Capita think tank.

In the next 40 years, over-65s will go from one in six to one in four. Over-85s will increase from one in 200 to one in 20.

"For now, those two senior generations in practice are the parents of the baby boomers, and the boomers themselves. Think of the 90-year-old woman with the 65-year-old son", Ms Gillard will say.

The present younger senior generation "is the healthiest, best resourced and best educated ever to stop full-time work", she will say.

She will point out that "for the first time, there'll be more part-pensioners than pensioners by 2030.

"That private wealth will create new choices while the state will retain a vital role in guaranteeing income and security."

Baby boomers "changed what it meant to be young and they changed what it meant to form families and adult relationships and they'll change what it means to be old".

Ms Gillard will set out the government's values going into the coming debate about the implications of the two generations of seniors and in judging the Productivity Commission findings.

"First, older Australians have earned the right to be able to access the care and support that is appropriate to their needs, when they need it," she will say.


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