CEPAR is supported by
Skip Navigation Links Home NEWS & EVENTS Media Releases Media Releases 2012
Search CEPAR
Filter by
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 care sector. 


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 disciplines.



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.

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 Commissioner.

"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 issues are."

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 business growth. 

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.


Melville Award Presentation - large photo

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." NICK SHERRY

"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.


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 Financial Crisis.

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 GFC.

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," Sargent-Cox says.

"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 standard."

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.

*Kerry 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.

**Kaarin Anstey is a Chief Investigator with CEPAR and is the Director, Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing at the Australian National University.

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 possible."

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 state.

"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 wealth."

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 Health Economics.

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 rates?

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 health risk.

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 row.

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 appreciate.

"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 said.

"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 21st Century.

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.


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 officials.

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 honour.

"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 said.

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 U.S.

"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.

 Colette Browning signing

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 medical professionals.

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 62.

"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 and Spain.

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. 


Ageing Well presenters










L to R: Anthony Brown (AAG), Carol Jagger, Julie Byles, Vasi Naganathan, Hal Kendig.

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 agenda.

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".


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 Financial Review

Read CEPAR's briefing paper



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 with disability.

"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.


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 Researchers.

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 July.

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.


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 charPollie Pedal smallity 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 CEPAR's partners.

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 Cresswell said.

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 areas.

Click here for more information or to donate to Carers Australia >

 Pollie Pedal medium

Alex Unwin from Bicycle NSW, Tony Abbott with 73-year-old cyclist Charles Olsson