Hisham El-Ansary, CEO BUPA ANZ introductory remarks to CEDA launch of intergenerational report

Thank you, Melinda. It is a pleasure for Bupa to be supporting today’s event.

• As we are fortunate enough to be gathering here in person, I want to respectfully acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional land of the Kulin Nation, and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

• When Josh Frydenberg was sworn in as Australia’s Treasurer almost three years ago, I’m sure he couldn’t have imagined the immense challenges our country – and indeed the world – would face in 2020. That Australia has proved so resilient, in the face of a global pandemic, is testament to the Treasurer’s deft stewardship of our economy. It’s also a reflection of the strength of our nation and our collective determination. We are truly fortunate and there is no other country I’d rather be in right now as we continue to face into the challenges of this pandemic.

• Today, the Treasurer joins us to launch the fifth Intergenerational Report, arguably the most important yet, given the context in which we are living. While COVID-19 has caused us to have a greater appreciation of the importance of our physical and mental wellbeing, it has also driven domestic fiscal challenges and a depressed global economy. When this is coupled with our rapidly ageing population and suspension, in both permanent and temporary migration, a perfect storm is created for policy-makers.

• For those of you unfamiliar with Bupa, we are a health and care company driven by a global purpose of helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives, and making a better world. As a provident organisation without shareholders established 75 years ago, we are committed to investing our profits into the delivery of more and better health care - both now and into the future. This includes improving our understanding of how the health of our environment can impact human health.

• Intergenerational considerations are embedded in Australia’s economic and social frameworks and are also very prominent within our own business.

• We are fortunate in Australia to have a world-class health system that relies on a productive balance between the public and private sectors.

• Accessible and affordable private healthcare is underpinned by the contributions of young and healthy people who essentially subsidise the cost of care for the elderly and the sick. The changing balance of this intergenerational subsidy is contributing to younger people leaving our community rated health insurance system; something that exercises the minds of our sector and policy-makers alike. It is imperative that we work together now, to ensure a sustainable future for private healthcare so that, it can continue taking pressure off our public services.• In aged care, the question of intergenerational sustainability and its impact on high quality care has been the focus of the recent Royal Commission and pleasingly, a robust response in the recent Federal Budget. Given demographic changes, there will be a requirement for not only high-quality care, but also a significant increase in capacity. In June last year, there were just over 1 million Australians who were aged 80 and above and by 2030, this is projected to grow to 1.55 million – an increase of almost 50% in a decade1. So therefore, this is a significant issue that will require our continued focus. In this regard, let me also acknowledge the valuable work that CEDA is doing in this area.

• Bupa also recognises that how we’re using our planet’s natural resources is also an intergenerational issue, the consequences of which we are seeing play out in changes to our climate, declining biodiversity and air quality. We know that if we want people to live longer, healthier, happier lives, then we have an obligation to help make our planet healthier too. I appreciate this is a complex issue, but for the sake of future generations, we must commit in order to take meaningful action.

• Finally, I want to acknowledge the Coalition’s foresight in instituting the Intergenerational Report as part of the Charter of Budget Honesty and the significant effort involved in crafting a report of this nature – it provides us all with valuable insight into the future.

• With that, I am delighted to welcome the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, to launch the Fifth Intergenerational Report.