An ageing population and the need to provide old-age retirement incomes are key challenges facing social security policy in most countries. The growing pressure to provide retirement pensions, health care for the old and other support services has long been a major focus for public policy in most developed economies. It is rapidly emerging as a development problem across the rest of the world as well. In Australia, life expectancy has increased substantially since the 1970s (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011). In 1970, people could expect to spend around 12 years of their life in retirement. By 2010 that figure had risen to nearly 20 years (Henry 2009: 36). In China, the family planning policy has led to a rapid demographic transition to an ageing society (Wang, F. 2011). Public opinion surveys show that social security and old-age incomes are now among the most important public policy concerns for the ordinary citizen (China Daily 22 Feb 2011). The issue is thus one of global concern, and finding a solution is essential for sustainable economic and social development. This study will explore the public policy responses to this challenge in Australia and China. Although the social and economic systems of the two countries are quite different, there is a common responsibility to meet the needs of the old. Furthermore, the practical processes of accumulating funds, managing the system and distributing pensions impose their own set of similar requirements.