Ausnew Home Care | Gold Coast newsagent Julie Tait celebrates 80th birthday and has no plans to retire

Gold Coast newsagent Julie Tait celebrates 80th birthday and has no plans to retire

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Celebrating her 80th birthday has not brought Julie Tait any closer to coming out from behind the counter of the Gold Coast newsagency where she is loved by her customers and boss.

The Palm Beach Newsagency worker, who has sold six Division One lottery tickets during her career, said she did not feel much different to when she turned 70.

"I've got a few more aches and pains, which is only natural," Mrs Tait said.

She considered volunteering when her husband died 10 years ago but instead decided to re-enter the workforce.

"Why volunteer [when] I get paid working here?" Mrs Tait said.

"I love the people I work with, a great atmosphere, a great shop."

Woman standing at newsagent counter with a $80-million lottery sign in background.
Julie Tait says she has sold six winning Division One lottery tickets during her career.(ABC Gold Coast: Tom Forbes)

The average retirement age is 55.4 years, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The bureau listed reaching retirement age, suffering sickness, injury or disability, and being retrenched or fired, as key reasons people left the workforce. 

Palm Beach Newsagency owner John Scanes said Mrs Tait was a highly valued member of staff who usually worked three days a week but also regularly volunteered to cover for workmates.

"Jules is very good with customers.

"She's straight to the point and she doesn't take any rubbish from anybody."

He said customers would ask after her when she was not on shift.

"Sometimes I've got to shoo her out the door; she won't leave stuff to be done for the next day," Mr Scanes said.      

Newspaper stand with Gold Bulletin and Courier-Mail newspapers on display.
Mrs Tait says newsagents no longer have newpaper delivery runs.(ABC Gold Coast: Tom Forbes)

Industry changes 

Mrs Tait said she had worked in newsagencies for 25 years and used to own an agency in Brisbane with her late husband.

She said her sector had experienced enormous changes in recent years due to the growth of the online economy.

"Now newspapers get delivered out of a big centre; they don't come to a newsagency."

She said the newsagency was lucky a lot of people had stuck by it.

"We've got a lot of older clientele that like coming in because we give good service," Mrs Tait said.

Lottery balls.
Customers are staying loyal to Mrs Tait's newsagency despite options to buy lottery tickets online.(Supplied)

She said the reaction of lottery winners was always a joy to witness.

"When I sold [a winning ticket] over at The Pines [shopping centre] there was an elderly couple … just the loveliest couple," Mrs Tait said.

"Well, they were just beside themselves … so excited.

"It was just beautiful to see two older people sharing in lotto."

Seniors push for law change

National Seniors Australia chief advocate Ian Henschke said it was important for people like Mrs Tait to stay in the workforce if they wanted to keep working.

"When someone does work they have a reason to get out of bed in the morning and a lot of people find working pleasurable," he said.

"She's 96 years of age." 

National Seniors has been running a "let pensioners work" campaign aimed at boosting retirement incomes and helping address labour shortages. 

"We've got 423,000 job vacancies and they went up by 7 per cent since last November, and they're heading towards 500,000," Mr Henschke said.

"If Australia did actually take the handbrake off this wonderful group of people that would go back into the workforce, or stay in the workforce, you'd find that it would improve the economy."

Man with grey hair and glasses wearing a suit.
Ian Henschke wants laws changed to allow pensioners to earn money without being penalised.(Supplied)

National Seniors wants the federal government to change laws and allow pensioners to earn extra money without being penalised. 

Under existing laws, Mr Henschke said the average pensioner could work one day a week before they started losing their pension at 50 cents a dollar for every dollar earned.

"It's not unreasonable for people to work into their 70s, 80s and 90s, but you should let people have the choice," he said.  

Retirement looms

Mrs Tait said she had no immediate plans to retire but added she would not be serving customers when she celebrated her 90th birthday.

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