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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 October 2011) . . Page.. 5032 ..


pensioners and senior cardholders and introduced a national reciprocal public transport concession card for senior cardholders. We have a strong ACT concessions policy. We have expanded water concession eligibility to health cardholders and holders of temporary protection visas from 1 July. We have increased the spectacles subsidy and taxi subsidy scheme. We have increased concessions primarily across the board.

In 2010-11 there were approximately 25,000 recipients of the energy concession and $6.4 million was allocated in the last budget for energy concession rebates, $5.8 million for water and sewerage rebates and $2.1 million for utility concessions.

Seniors—employment

MS HUNTER: Minister, in relation to employment for older people, what policies and programs does the government have in place to increase the rates of employment for older people and to combat employers discriminating against employing older people?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Hunter for her question. An action within the ACT strategic plan for positive ageing: towards an age-friendly city was to improve the retention rate of ACT government staff aged over 55 years. To meet this, the Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate is developing the ACT public service mature age employment strategy consistent with commitments made as part of enterprise agreements.

In September this year I launched the ACT business guide to mature workers and the ACT business guide to older customers. That has been supported by local businesses. The publications were a commitment within the ACT strategic plan for positive ageing. There are copies available if members are interested. I am quite happy to provide those booklets that have been circulated extensively to employers and businesses throughout Canberra.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, are you aware of any discrimination complaints in regard to older people in employment that have been made? If yes, what did those cases involve?

MS BURCH: As we know, the Discrimination Act 1991 makes it unlawful to treat a person unfavourably because of their age. I am aware of a few reported complaints of discrimination by older employees in the ACT. I do not have the details of those. The federal government has appointed Susan Ryan as Australia’s first full-time Age Discrimination Commissioner. I think this and the other strategies put in place here and federally will make a difference.

Canberra Seniors Centre and Woden Senior Citizens Club

MR COE: It has been noted in question on notice No 1761 that the government is currently in discussion with the Canberra Seniors Centre and Woden Senior Citizens Club about possible new sites. What is the government proposing regarding the clubs’ existing premises and land?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Coe for his interest in senior Canberrans. The ACT government has been in discussion with both groups over quite a period of time to better understand their needs and the pressures on both facilities from the growth in the town centres in which they are located. In each case there would be advantages in co-location or


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