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COTA

Removing barriers to mature age employment good for economy and society

Media Release 2nd May 2016

The significant economic, social and health benefits of older people and people with disability participating in the workforce are again highlighted in a major report by the Australian Human Rights Commission released today by the Attorney General.

Peak seniors advocate, COTA Australia, today welcomed the release of the report of the Willing to Work Inquiry which found that an increase in the participation of older Australians could increase GDP by $25 billion.

COTA CE Ian Yates, called for all political parties to include recommendations from the report in their election platforms.

"With the population ageing it's imperative for the economic prosperity of the nation that we remove all the barriers to mature age workforce participation," Mr Yates.

"And yet, the Australian Human Rights Commission found that in 2015, more than a quarter of older Australians reported experiencing age discrimination at work.

"Age discrimination, lack of workplace flexibility and poor superannuation and tax arrangements mean that too many older people who are willing and able to work are locked out of the workforce.

"COTA strongly supports the recommendations in the report which call for the government to lead the way in creating national workforce strategies, providing mature age re-training initiatives and addressing workplace discrimination.

"Many of these recommendations were supported by our own submission to the Inquiry.

"We also welcome the Inquiry recommendation for a Minister for Longevity, supported by an advisory structure, to address the economic dimensions of longevity and drive the increase in labour force participation of older Australians. The implications of an ageing society are critical for the economy as a whole and deserve the attention of a Cabinet Minister.

"The Inquiry also recommends a range of measures business can take on to increase mature age employment, and many businesses highlighted by the Inquiry are already showing the benefits of actively employing an older experienced, reliable workforce.

"Business have a critical role to play and we encourage business leaders to look at to how they can maximise the advantages of employing and retaining a mature age workforce.

"COTA is also pleased to see the recommendation calling on government to consider the taxation treatment of redundancy payments for people over the age of 65, which are discriminatory and unfair, and send the wrong message about the employment status of older workers."

The Willing to Work report can be found at https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disability-rights/publications/willing-work-national-inquiry-employment-discrimination

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.

Download a copy of the media release

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