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New opportunities for older Australians.

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Senator Jocelyn Newman

Minister for Family & Community Services

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women


9 May 2000


Mature age people without jobs will be the subject of a pilot project being developed as a result of the Welfare Reform Review.

Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Jocelyn Newman, said the pilot would explore the barriers older people face in participation in work and community activities.

"This initiative recognises the important contributions that older people can make, both as workers and also by bringing their full range of skills and experience to activities such as volunteering in community organisations, undertaking non-vocational study or caring for family members,'' said Senator Newman.

"It also recognises that some people will require help to achieve their goals and aspirations.

"For the first time, a preventative approach is also being trialed, by drawing in a small number of unemployed people who are not on an income support payment at present, but may need help to maintain their financial independence.''

The Government wants to strike a better balance between its ongoing commitment to maintaining a strong safety net and its responsibility to develop strategies that encourage all Australians to participate in the work and community life, to the extent that they are able.

There are over 250,000 older people of working age who receive income support payments other than Disability Support Pension. This pilot is inspired by the policy goal of linking this group to support services that will assist them in gaining employment or participating more fully in their communities.

Policies to encourage and help people stay in the workforce longer are more beneficial for

these individuals and for the skill base of the labour market. Rather than writing off people who are more difficult to assist into employment or community-related activities, the pilot will explore ways of assisting them more effectively.

Media inquiries: Richard Wilson (02) 6277 7560 (Senator Newman's Office) Brian Quinlan (02) 6244 6606 (Department media contact)

Endnote: The way that the GST affects Budget estimates, accounting statements and appropriations is described in Budget Paper No.4

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