Page 1224 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2015

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MS PORTER: Minister, what feedback can you give the Assembly regarding some of the outcomes from the roundtable?

MR GENTLEMAN: I can advise members that, through the course of deliberations at the roundtable, discussions focused on how we can collectively harness our knowledge, expertise, ideas and concepts towards the development of policies, programs and new services that will address current barriers to effective mature age employment in the ACT.

We know that the whole process of recruitment has changed dramatically in recent years. Gone is the dominance of recruitment pages in the newspaper; in its place is an environment laden with job websites and social media. Getting used to this way of recruiting and locating jobs is clearly an issue.

Other recurring themes related to the myths and preconceptions about mature age workers held by some employers. This includes potential employers thinking that seniors lack contemporary knowledge, abilities with social media, commitment to a job or the ability to change. What is evident is a feeling among mature age workers that doors are being closed on them on the basis of ill-founded beliefs.

Other key discussions were the need to challenge our mature age workers to also change and adapt. Mature age workers are going to need to show courage and be prepared, on some occasions, to reinvent themselves.

One very clear message from the roundtable was that we need to continue to address the barriers for our mature age workforce and uncover what our next steps should be collaboratively—as an individual employee, as a business owner or for government and for the community and support services. We need to acknowledge best practice programs, new thinking and new approaches, and to develop a better understanding of career and training development opportunities for both business and mature age workers.

I look forward to providing my ministerial colleagues with further updates on the progress of outcomes from the roundtable.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, why is it important that mature age workers have an opportunity to participate in employment opportunities?

MR GENTLEMAN: As Minister for Ageing, I am focused on providing seniors with avenues to remain in the workforce. In Australia our ageing population will mean that in the future there will be fewer workers to support retirees. At the same time the ageing population will also result in fiscal pressures arising from increased demands for government services and rising health costs.

As recently highlighted in the commonwealth 2015 Intergenerational Report, in 40 years from now the aged workforce participation—those 65-plus—will rise to 17.3

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