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Mature strategy in the right direction but more to do: Minister.



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THE HON MAL BROUGH MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

Media Release

10204

Mature Strategy In The Right Direction But More To Do - Minister

The Howard Government and Job Network had been very successful in addressing mature aged employment issues, but entrenched perceptions continued to dog mature aged job seekers, Federal Employment Services Minister Mal Brough said today.

Mr Brough said mature aged unemployment had come down from a peak of 8 per cent under Labor to 3.5 per cent under the Howard Government, and there had been a number of improvements to Job Network as part of the Government’s efforts to improve mature aged participation in the work force.

“There is no question, however, that the ageing workforce and lower mature aged participation rates require more work which is why the Howard Government had promoted mature age issues and would continue to do so,” Mr Brough said.

“The Howard Government can do that because through good economic management we have reduced unemployment to 23 year lows and that means less of the hard earned taxpayer dollar has to be devoted to the unemployment disaster created by Labor, and more could be used for work force participation.”

“We should never forget that the biggest impediment facing mature aged job seekers is the perception they have nothing to offer - and nothing could be further from the truth.”

“This is the lasting legacy of Labor who couldn’t manage the economy, put many thousands of mature aged people on Disability Support Pension because Labor couldn’t create real jobs, and sent a green light to employers, forced to make workers redundant, that targeting older workers was OK.”

Mr Brough said that Employment for people aged 45 years and over has increased by 2.9 per cent over the 12 months to May 2004 and by 23.4 per cent over the past 5 years. In April this year we set a target of 7,000 jobs for mature aged people in the Job Network and achieved

8.700 jobs. Over the 2003-04 year, the new Job Network changes created record levels of job outcomes. Mature aged people got 22 per cent of those outcomes, the same proportion as they are in the caseload.

“There is no question that we are seeking to do more, and there have been a number of initiatives over several Budgets and we made a number of significant changes to the Job Network in July 2003 that supercede many of the issues raised by COTA in 2002-03.”

“There is no substance to claims about Job Network failure and the record on mature aged employment speaks for itself. The fact is, the biggest challenge lies with educating employers and many are now responding to the challenge.”

“We will continue to work with groups like COTA and National Seniors to continue the good work for the long term future of mature aged workers and the national economy,” Mr Brough said.

Mature Age Employment, the facts:

For further information contact:

David Moore 07 5432 4631

8/07/2004