DRIVERS OF POVERTY: Benevolent Society campaigner Joel Pringle in Lismore to raise awareness on poverty in the aged population and ageism.
DRIVERS OF POVERTY: Benevolent Society campaigner Joel Pringle in Lismore to raise awareness on poverty in the aged population and ageism. Sophie Moeller

Aged fare badly in Page Electorate

A THIRD of Australians living on the age pension live in poverty and the well-being of Lismore's older residents is in the bottom 20 per cent of the country.

In the lead up to Seniors Week, Benevolent Society campaigners like Joel Pringle have been campaigning around the country to improve the privations of ageism.

One-and-half-million older Australians rely solely on the age pension.

According to Mr Pringle, the Page electorate is the fifth oldest in the country by percentage of population, but also amongst the most impoverished.

The well-being of older residents in Lismore, Grafton, Casino and Evans Head is in the lowest 20 per cent compared to other communities across Australia.

Mr Pringle, who was in the region to make the electorate aware of the research, told The Lismore Echo that many older residents in these communities were "struggling”, especially those relying on the age pension as their main source of income.

Being stuck in private rent was the highest determinant of poverty for people relying on the age pension, as were high heath costs. These particularly impacted single women, he said.

The Benevolent Society has begun relationship building in Northern Rivers communities as part of the Fix Pension Poverty campaign.

Late last year it also undertook research into The Drivers of Ageism, looking into the attitudes and beliefs behind discrimination against older Australians.

"During the research we heard from people mashing food because they couldn't afford to go to a dentist to turning off the hot water to save money,” Mr Pringle said.

"We are hoping the Lismore community will get involved with the campaign, and will also be asking your local MP Kevin Hogan to support the campaign too.”

The Benevolent Society first campaigned for first old age pension in NSW in 1901.

It was the first of its kind in the world.

In the 50 years from 1964 to 2014, the proportion of the Australian population aged 65 years and over, doubled from 8 per cent to 15 per cent. By 2064, it is estimated that close to one-in-four (23 per cent) Australians will be aged 65 or more (AIHW, 2017).

Details of the campaign can be found at www. fixpensionpoverty.org.au



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