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Inquiry into mature-age workers - Brisbane

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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Workplace Relations


Dr Brendan Nelson, MP

Deputy Chair Mr Rod Sawford, MP

Members Mr Phillip Barresi, MP Mr Kerry Bartlett, MP

Dr Craig Emerson, MP Ms Teresa Gambaro, MP Mrs Joanna Gash, MP Ms Julia Gillard, MP The Hon Bob Katter, MP Mr Kim Wilkie, MP

Correspondence and inquires: Committee Secretary House of Representatives

Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Workplace Relations R1 116 Parliament House CANBERRA A C t 2600

Tel (02) 6277 4573 Fax (02)6277 4427 E>mail:


Media release — 25 October 1999 Inquiry into mature-age workers — Brisbane The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Workplace Relations will be holding its next public hearings for its inquiry into issues specific to mature-age jobseekers, in Brisbane over two days, starting at 8:30am on W ednesday 27 October in Commonwealth Government Centre,

Level 36 Waterfront Plaza, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane. The program is attached.

The Chair of the Committee, Dr Brendan N elson, said: "The Committee is looking forward to hearing from Dr Steinberg, Director of the Healthy Ageing Unit, Queensland University as she has researched extensively in the area and is

an adviser to the Queensland Jobs Policy Council.

"Many mature-age jobseekers have told the committee that they believe that employer attitudes made it harder for them to be re-employed. Dr Steinberg w ill be able to provide the inquiry with research evidence on employer attitudes and practices.

"The Committee will also be hearing from the Q ueensland Government which has initiated and funded a number of projects to address the issues of mature- age employment and unemployment. The Committee is keen to discuss these projects, especially those which may identify 'best practice' examples.

We are also delighted that one of our witnesses is Q ueensland Rail, which has actively retained older workers and then expanded its workforce to work on the Great South Pacific Express. This is an excellent example of an Australian pro­ active approach to mature-age employment.

"The Grey Army is another pro-active approach. This was started by Brandon Charlesworth as a self-help concern for mature-age unemployed. By fast­ tracking training, the Grey Army is able to help people over 45 become tradespeople able to do repairs and maintenance work for householders.

Dr Nelson added: "We are also hearing from a number of individuals and from Job Network providers and the Area Consultative Committees.

"Many mature-age jobseekers say they are disadvantaged by the system, especially when they find casual or part-time work. In declaring earnings from a job, they lose part of their benefit payments. The combination of reduction in benefit and income tax on earnings is equivalent to an extremely high effective

tax rate. Some witnesses have described it as 'being taxed at 83%'.

"The Committee aims to identify why some mature age people have difficulties in regaining employment after they lose their jobs and to find practical solutions to meet the needs of this age group."

The Committee has received evidence from a number of witnesses at earlier public hearings in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Adelaide. Most submissions are at index.htm or copies can be obtained from the secretariat. Public hearing transcripts are also available from this site.

Terms of reference Inquire into the social, economic and industrial issues specific to workers over 45 years of age seeking employment, or establishing a business, following unemployment.



PUBLIC HEARINGS Venue: Commonwealth Government Centre Level 36 Waterfront Plaza 1 Eagle Street Brisbane

Wednesday 27 October 1999 Thursday, 28 October 1999

8:30 am Healthy Ageing Unit, University of Queensland Dr Margaret Steinberg, Director 9:00 am Ms Dorothy Foster Ms Linda Walley, Senior research Officer 9:30 am Association of Independent Retirees Inc

Ms Maureen Kingston, National President

9:30 am Employment Strategies Council (Brisbane North) Mr Bruce Duncan, Qld Vice-President Inc. Mr Alan Millard, Chair Mr Ron Paddison, Sub-Committee member Ms Sandy Mikami, Executive Officer Mr Joe Cazey, Career Employment Australia

10:15 am Mr Bryson Dyke (Toowoomba)

Ms Kate Ruttiman, Queensland Council of Unions 10:45 am Grey Army Mr Paul Sawtell, Integrated Skills Consulting Pty Ltd Mr Brandon Charlesworth, Founder/Director

10:15 am DOME Job Search Association 11:30 am The Department o f Employment, Training

Ms June Fitzgerald, President and Industrial Relations

Mr William McConnell, Project Co-ordinator Mr Bemie Carlon, General Manager,


11:00 am EastCoast Training and Employment Ms Judith Bertram, General Manager, Policy

Mr Alan Sparks, CEO & Research

Mr Michael Wills, D irector, Office of Ageing

11:30 am Mr Bruce Dawson Mrs Georgie Whitton, Senior Research &

Policy Officer, Workforce Strategy Unit,

12:00 noon Mr John Cameron Employment Taskforce

Mr Justin Hartley, Research Officer

1 2 : 3 0 p m L U N C H

1 2 : 3 0 pm C lo s e

1:30 pm Queensland Rail Mr David Hempel, Principal Advisor, Employee Relations

2:15 pm National Seniors Association (NSA) Mr David Deans, Chief Executive

3:00 pm Brisbane South Area Consultative Committee Ms Margaret Blade, Executive Officer Ms June Richards, Projects Officer Ms Lyn Ketter, Branch Manager of Leonie Green & Associates

3:45 pm Ms Julia Holland

4 : 1 5 p m C l o s e