Job Assistance for Older Workers is a Good Plan and Should be Extended

4 August 2010

ACOSS has welcomed today’s policy announcement from the Coalition to encourage businesses to employ mature-aged workers with a lump sum incentive and is seeking a commitment to extend this subsidy in a targeted way to other jobseekers.

“Younger people who have been searching for work for long periods would also benefit from this scheme. Many people affected by the economic downturn have been unable to find work since,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service.

“The Coalition’s proposal would encourage businesses to employ older workers who are often discriminated against because of their age.

“Young people who have no history of work also face barriers to work and should be included in this scheme. Youth unemployment is still 14%, which is nearly three times the national average.

“A period of paid work experience helps many unemployed people reconnect with the workforce. Even if the job is temporary, evaluations show the experience of paid work in a regular job can boost people’s job prospects.

“To ensure the scheme is targeted to people who otherwise wouldn’t get a job, it should be administered by employment services providers.

“Reducing long-term unemployment is one of the most important things governments can do to prevent social exclusion and prevent poverty. Despite a general drop in unemployment, the number of long-term jobless Australians has risen by 30% over the last two years.

“We are calling on all political leaders to put in place a range of programs tailored to the individual needs of long-term unemployed people.

“No one wants to see people having to scrape by on the single unemployment payment which is just $33 per day.”

Download ACOSS’ election statement, The Contest for a Fairer Australia.

Media Contact: Clare Cameron, ACOSS – 0419 626 155