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International Day of Older Persons Media Release

OCTOBER 1:  INTERNATIONAL DAY OF OLDER PERSONS

CALL FOR GOVERNMENTS TO STRENGTHEN ANTI DISCRIMINATION LAWS

MAKE EMPLOYMENT OF OLDER WORKERS CENTRAL TO THE ECONOMY

Tomorrow, Thursday October 1 is The International Day of Older Persons when we celebrate the contribution to this country of 6 million older Australians.  It also provides an opportunity to draw attention to some of the important challenges older people face because they are devalued in our society.

“Australian governments don’t seem to value the ageing of our population for its potential benefits nor comprehend the impact an ageing population will have and therefore our society does not have strategies to respond to these opportunities and challenges,” said Sue Hendy, CEO of COTA Victoria (Council on the Ageing), the major advocacy organisation for older people.

“Already in Victoria there are as many people over 65 years as there are young people under 15 years. Older people face discrimination in the work place.  Nearly a third of the people who are long term unemployed are over 55 years and are on the inadequate Newstart Allowance.  Many face poverty, unable to find employment and unable to get the pension until they are 65.  Work place discrimination has profound effects on their health and wellbeing.  Older people tell us they feel humiliated, invisible and devalued.”

“Governments at all levels need to address age discrimination so that older people are valued and recognised as citizens with the same rights and responsibilities as any group in society. Current age discrimination laws are weak despite the fact that a third of older Australians say they have experienced age discrimination.”

“Discrimination in the work place is costing the country billions of dollars as verified by accountants Deloitte.

“COTA calls on the Prime Minister and the Premier to strengthen anti-discrimination laws and to begin discussion with employers and unions on overcoming the barriers to employing older people. This issue is central to the future of our economy,” Sue Hendy said.

COTA Victoria and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission will be holding a special breakfast on Tuesday October 6 at the RACV Club at 7.15 am with theme age discrimination in the workforce.

 Interviews: Sue Hendy on 9655 2102 and 0413 802 054 or Brendan O’Dwyer on 0415 764 353 and 9655 2140

 

Download a copy of the release here

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