Imagine a construction site filled with 70-year-old workers.
For crane operator Alan Blevin, the federal governmentâ€™s announcementÂ it will raise the retirement age could make this vision a reality.
On Friday, Treasurer Joe Hockey revealed Australians born after 1965 will have to continue working until they are 70 before they can access the age pension.
That means Mr Blevin, who is now 47, will be one of millions of people forced to stay on the job for more than 20 years before he is eligible for the pension.
“Itâ€™s unthinkable,” he says. “There is no chance I will be able to work until I am 70.
“My left knee is already giving in because Iâ€™m bending down, loading gear from trucks and guiding cranes all day. But I canâ€™t afford to just stop. I have to keep paying the rent and bills.â€™â€™
The rise to 70 by 2035, which is quicker than recommended by the National Commission of Audit, will be particularly tough for people in manual jobs, says Mr Blevin, who lives in Sans Souci and works 60 hours a week on a Zetland building project for Becton.
“When you are driving a crane itâ€™s mentally exhausting, too. You canâ€™t slack off because you could kill someone. You have to be sharp and alert. I know a few guys in their mid 50s now who are struggling now even though they are quite fit for their age.”
After working as a bricklayer’s labourer for more than 15 years, Mr Blevin retrained as a crane driver to ease the pressure on his back. Although he now earns about $2000 each week, his income is unpredictable.
“One minute you have a good run of work, the next you might not have work for months. You take what you can get and just put up with it.
“Ideally Iâ€™d like to cut back to 30 hours a week in the next 10 years. My wife is studying to be a psychologist so it might be possible once she is qualified. But you canâ€™t predict the future.”
With daughters about to have families of their own, Mr Blevin said he would like to retire by 65Â so he can spend time with his grandchildren.
“Iâ€™m sure the politicians wonâ€™t be going until they are 70. Itâ€™s ridiculous. But at least Iâ€™d get a discounted bus pass to get to work.”