Page 773 - Week 02 - Thursday, 10 March 2011

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services designed to support mature age Australians who want to stay in the workforce.

It includes information on how employers can list vacancies for mature age people and for individuals to register their employment interests. Employers and job seekers are encouraged to use their local Job Services Australia provider, which can also offer free and tailored assistance. The council also asks the government to consider developing and implementing programs which promote the value of mature age employment and counter the negative attitudes of younger workers towards mature age employees and encourage positive acceptance of mature age employees within the workplace.

In the ACT government strategic plan for positive ageing, we have identified a number of actions to address these issues And they include promoting positive images of seniors through such programs as the life’s reflections photographic competition and the Chief Minister’s Canberra gold awards; encouraging the business sector to be more accessible and inclusive of seniors as employees and customers; pursuing initiatives that will support mature age employment and assist people to stay in work where they wish, to transition to retirement, through flexible work options; promoting vocational education opportunities; and promoting the role of the Human Rights Commission in investigating complaints of age discrimination.

The Office for Ageing is also working with the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing and the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry to create a guide to engaging with seniors as customers and employees. This work aims to encourage the business sector to be more accessible and inclusive of seniors as employees and customers and is expected to be launched in the first half of 2011.

The final recommendation of the report was that government evaluate the effectiveness of mature age employment incentive programs in both the ACT public service and the ACT workforce. And I am pleased to say that evaluations will be developed in collaboration with the Chief Minister’s Department.

In closing, it is important that we seek creative approaches to address the challenge of retaining and supporting mature age workers and acknowledge and value their contribution to the community. I believe that, through actions identified in the ACT strategic plan for positive ageing, the government will continue to make positive progress towards addressing this, and I welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing to address this important issue.

Finally, the council does provide valuable and significant advice to me, which I value and have certainly taken to heart over the time I have been minister. And I want to thank them for their commitment to older Canberrans and for the positive contributions that they make that result in actions, certainly on-the-ground actions, and outcomes that make a difference to our broader society as a whole, both young and old alike. So thank you for your contribution—to you personally, Alan, and to all of the council members.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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