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Ageing committee tackles mature-age employment.



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Media Release Kevin Andrews Minister for Ageing

KA 97/2002 Friday November 1, 2002

AGEING COMMITTEE TACKLES MATURE-AGE EMPLOYMENT

ENCOURAGING older workers to stay on longer in the workforce will be the first issue tackled by the new National Advisory Committee on Ageing.

Speaking to the committee at its inaugural meeting in Melbourne today, Federal Minister for Ageing Kevin Andrews told members that Australia could face a workforce shortage in 15 years.

"It is a pressing issue that affects the whole community," Mr Andrews said. "Businesses will be looking for every worker they can find due to the massive reduction in workforce growth.

"It will be an entirely different paradigm and, while employers need to continue accommodating younger workers, they must also change their attitudes to older workers, because they will need them for their businesses to survive."

The committee, chaired by former Victorian Governor Sir James Gobbo, has been established to advise the Minister about ageing issues and facilitate a national discussion about the consequences of Australia's rapidly ageing population.

Mr Andrews told the committee that it should take a dual approach to ageing; one that looks at the causes of ageing such as low fertility rates as well as the consequences, such as the workforce issue and financial security and personal savings.

In his opening remarks to the committee, Sir James said that ageing was once seen as a disability and a problem.

"I'd like to think we are starting from a positive; to regard ageing as a resource, a richness, a benefit and offering enormous opportunities for all Australians," Sir James said.

The committee comprises a wide group of Australians including older Australians, indigenous Australians, aged care providers, researchers, health experts, social commentators, business and financial leaders.

Media Contact: Felicity Dargan (Press Secretary) 0409 550 446

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Published on Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing web site 4 November 2002 Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing URL: http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/yr2002/ka/ka02097.htm