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Inquiry into mature-age workers: Canberra.

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Media release


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


18 November 1999


Inquiry into mature-age workers —Canberra


The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Workpl ace Relations will be holding its next public hearings for its inquiry into issues specific to mature-age job seekers, in Canberra, starting at 10:00 am on Monday 22 November in Committee Room 1R3, Parliament House.


The Chair of the Committee, Dr Brendan Nelson, said: “We expect a broad range of views from witnesses on mature-age workers in the labour market. We will hear from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the CPSU and the Australian Education Union. Volunteering ACT will also attend.


“We now have more mature-age people in the population due to ageing of the ‘baby boomers’. In the future, there will fewer younger people working to support larger numbers of retired people, some of whom will be drawing pensions. Yet mature-age participation in the labour market has been decreasing, particularly that of men.


“To date we have heard evidence that many mature-age workers are being targeted for retrenchment. Once they lose their jobs, older job seekers have difficulty in getting new jobs. Recent surveys have shown that employers are reluctant to employ them, preferring instead to hire people in their thirties.


Dr Nelson added: “Some people over 55 are retiring early because they can access superannuation. Others become discouraged in their job search and drop out of the workforce. Forced retrenchment and early retirement means that people are unable to save enough for their retirement, and may have to fall back on the age pension in later life.


“Yet overseas and Australian research shows that unemployment is a health hazard, affecting mortality, mental health and disease. It can also affect the health of spouses and children. This increases the demand on the health and social security systems.


“Instead of encouraging mature-age people with valuable experience to contribute their skills to our workforce, many are being denied access to the benefits arising from our economic reforms. The Committee aims to explore the reasons for their difficulty and find practical solutions to ensure that mature-age jobseekers are able to reap the rewards of economic prosperity”. The Committee has received evidence from a number of witnesses at earlier public hearings in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra. Public hearing transcripts and most submissions are at


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.



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