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Minister launches new mature age helpline.



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THE HON KEVIN ANDREWS MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS MINISTER ASSISTING THE PRIME MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE

Media Release

04805

Minister Launches New Mature Age Helpline

The Howard Government is funding a new telephone helpline for mature age job seekers and workers across New South Wales.

The phoneline - 1300 795 211 - will be an advisory, referral and support service for Australians aged 45 and over who are unemployed and looking for work.

Hotline staff will also provide information and advice about employment issues to mature age Australians currently in the workforce.

Minister Kevin Andrews launched the Mature Employment Line in Sydney today. It will be run by COTA (Council on the Ageing) New South Wales which hopes that, if successful, it can be extended to operate across Australia.

"With Australia’s rapidly ageing population it is important we do all we can to promote mature age employment and ensure workers are judged on their abilities, not their age," Mr Andrews said.

"This helpline is a great initiative and I encourage mature age workers and job seekers to use it to find out information about Federal Government services to help them find work - such as the Job Network.

"Callers can find out about employment and training services in their local area as well as job search techniques and advice about options to make the transition from work to retirement.

"Employers must be encouraged to retain and recruit mature age workers and we must encourage workers themselves to stay on longer in the workforce."

ABS data shows that once unemployed, mature age job seekers are at much higher risk of either becoming long term unemployed or dropping off the labour force altogether. Most discouraged job seekers are aged 45-64.

The Howard Government’s website for mature age Australians - www.jobwise.gov.au - has a wealth of information but Mr Andrews said although many people did not have Internet access, this new service will make all the information just a phone call away.

For further information contact:

Russ Street 0417 0444712

4/02/2005

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