Economic recovery has a silver lining

John Spoehr 2The $3 trillion baby boomer market in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region is the focus of the proposed ‘Mature Economy Business and Jobs Strategy’ in South Australia.

The new strategy, commissioned by the South Australian Government, is being developed by Flinders University’s Professor John Spoehr and Germany’s Fraunhofer IAO Professor Frank Wagner, a world leader in identifying new technologies and harnessing profit from this lucrative market.

The strategic framework, due for release this year, aims to turn the basic demand and supply economics of an ageing population into a financial boon for South Australia by meeting their growing needs with innovative – and lucrative – solutions here at home.

An Australian first, it creates the potential for South Australia to place itself at the epicentre of a booming new mature economy tailored to meet the health and lifestyle aspirations of older Aussies nationwide.

This market will spend their savings on lifestyle, leisure, and maintaining their independence in areas such as medical devices and assisted technologies, says Professor Spoehr, Director of the new Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders University.

“This translates into new business opportunities and jobs that may not exist yet, or are still in their infancy,” Professor Spoehr says.

Services and innovative products such as assisted technologies also would be spurred by Australian Government policies such as Consumer Directed Care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme, he says.

“The Mature Economy Business and Jobs Strategy will ensure that far from being overlooked, mature citizens will be valued, delivering economic and social dividends.

“It will bring together the interests and investments of these organisations and institutions into a coherent and collaborative whole for the benefit of South Australia.

“This partnership will ensure we have access to international knowledge and expertise in this area and will ensure we look at opportunities not just on a state level, but nationally and internationally as well.”

The strategy is part of the State Government’s vision to bring the community together to create an all-ages-friendly state as outlined in its Prosperity Through Longevity: South Australia’s Ageing Plan, 2014-2019.

South Australia Minister for Ageing, Zoe Bettison, said that with around one-third of the State’s population now aged over 50, it was clear that they presented increasing economic opportunities for business, industry and social ventures.

“This strategy will set a clear direction to ensure South Australia is at the forefront of efforts to maximise business and job opportunities generated by the ageing population over the next decade,” Ms Bettison said.

Professor John Spoehr’s commentary on the closure of steelmaking at Whyalla and manufacturing appears in The Conversation   

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