Jul 9, 2004

Opportunity and security for mature age Australians in Grayndler

Opportunity and security for mature age Australians in Grayndler

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 9 July 2004

Labor will give mature age workers and job seekers in Grayndler more support to stay in the work force, Anthony Albanese MP Labor Member for Grayndler said today.

As Shadow Minister for Employment Services and Training, I was proud to be involved in the development of this wide ranging policy to assist mature age workers and job seekers not only in Grayndler but throughout Australia,” Mr Albanese said.

“Too many mature aged people in Grayndler are falling into unemployment, becoming dependent on income support or drifting out of the labour force altogether.

“With an ageing population and growing skill shortages, we should be making the most of mature age Australians in Grayndler.

Labor has launched a $212 million policy package to give mature age job seekers tailored support to find work and those already working more opportunities to expand and update their skills.

A report prepared for the Federal Government, by the Council on the Ageing/National Seniors for the Federal Government, warned that the current, privatised employment services system was failing to help mature age workers back into the workforce.

“According to this report, mature age job seekers face discrimination and a lack of understanding of their special requirements and this is reflected in disappointing labour force statistics for older workers.

Mr Albanese said a third of Australians aged between 50 and 64 years were on income support and nearly half aged between 55 and 64 were not in the workforce.

“John Howard promised in the 2001 election campaign that he would make mature age unemployment a third term agenda. Three years later and these people are still waiting.

“Unlike the Howard Government, a Latham Labor Government will make sure mature age Australians in Grayndler have greater job security and more opportunities.

“To help more older workers stay in work or go back to work Labor will spend $26.5 million over four years to set up career centres aimed at helping mature age jobseekers find work. As well, we will target up to 63,000 with job search assistance, literacy and numeracy assessment, counselling and career change advice,” Mr Albanese said.

“We will also:

• Provide $47.2 million over four years to establish a Rapid Assistance Service to help prevent workers falling into long-term unemployment when they are displaced through large-scale or regional retrenchments. It will start in 2005 and be phased in to target 10,000 workers each year by 2007.

• Establish a Training Partnerships Fund to encourage employers to re-train mature age workers. The Fund will match employer investment in mature age training, dollar for dollar up to $1,250 per worker. It will assist 7,000 mature age workers at a cost of $9.4 million over four years.

• Provide $8.5 million over four years to provide a $2,000 Learning Bonus for mature age job seekers who take up an apprenticeship or traineeship in areas of skills shortage. This will help 4,000 mature age job seekers over four years.

• Establish, by 2008, 2,500 new TAFE places earmarked each year for workers aged over 45. These will represent a specific dedication under Labor’s broader plan to fund 20,000 new TAFE places each year.

• Spend $6.4 million over four years to develop new procedures for formally recognising the existing skills and workplace experiences of mature age workers when they attain new qualifications.

• Spend $21.3 million over four years to deploy 125 Mature Age Workplace Trainers in key industries to develop and implement workplace training plans.

• Fund 500 additional places in the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, which provides training to job seekers who want to set up their own business.

• Provide $23 million over four years to give mature age workers the opportunity to undergo training in information technology.

• Continue our commitment to spend $40 million over four years to improve adult literacy.

• Recruit Job Network providers to specialise in helping mature age job seekers.