Retirees should have choice: seniors group

IT'S been nearly 20 years since Lismore butcher Neil Hutley last thought seriously about retirement.

Now, aged 83, Mr Hutley has had to have two knee reconstructions to continue working the famed Hutley Bros butchery at South Lismore and has no intention of stepping down.

“If I had left earlier the young ones wouldn't have had my guidance,” he said.

Mr Hutley may be a sign of things to come, with peak group National Seniors calling on the Federal Government to lift the official retirement age, and with it eligibility for the aged pension, to 75.

The call is part of a 20-page document saying the Government should also address issues such as unemployment among older Australians, the structure of the financial system, the inadequacy of the relationship between retirement age and life expectancy, and the need for more flexibility in the workplace.

The suggestion has raised the ire of other seniors groups, with Combined Pensioners and Supperannuants Lismore president Jim Parker saying no one should be forced to work past the existing retirement age of 65.

“Many of our 100 members do voluntary work, and they need to be on a pension, especially ex-tradespeople,” he said.

“I couldn't have continued working in the building industry past the age of 65 as I had back problems.”

Many manual workers were not able to continue because employers prefered young tradespeople, he said.

“People should have the opportunity to continue working if they want to, and this would be possible if you were doing office work or other jobs that weren't pysically demanding.” he said.

That concern was echoed by the group's NSW branch, with group general manager Megan Lee saying it could also badly damage volunteer-dependent organisations.

“We have to give people options, some may be fit to go on working, others not,” she said.

“It is not reasonable to expect people to be forced to work.

“If the idea was implemented it could create major problems with housing and cause huge social issues, with most voluntary work being carried out by the over-60s.” she said.

“It could cause a massive drain on society."

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