Release type: Joint Media Release


Supporting mature age workers good for the nation


The Hon Wayne Swan MP
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan and Minister for Employment Participation Kate Ellis today met with Members and Senators in Canberra, to promote the benefits of mature-age workforce participation.

The Experience+ event brought together experts in the field, including Age Discrimination Commissioner, the Hon Susan Ryan AO, and Everald Compton AM, who will chair the Government’s new Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing.

In the 2012-13 Budget, the Gillard Government announced a significant suite of new measures and incentives to support mature-age Australians to stay connected to the workforce for longer if they wish.

“As Australians live longer, healthier lives, it is more important than ever to remove the barriers mature-age workers face to ensure we make the most of the vast skills and experience of senior Australians,” Mr Swan said. 

“As a community, we need to provide greater choices to older Australians as to how they spend their later years, and better opportunities to stay engaged with the workforce and the broader community. 

“There are about 2 million seniors outside the workplace who are interested in working - we need to make sure we provide as many opportunities to these Australians as possible. 

“Too many people see the ageing of the population only as a problem.  In fact, it is a great opportunity for our economy – a growing community of active, older Australians who have so much to contribute. 

“This means tackling barriers and discrimination in the workplace so that seniors can utilise their talent, experience, skills and capabilities, which is why forums like today are so important.

”The Australian Government in this year’s Budget committed more than $100 million over four years to encourage employers to recruit and retain mature-age job seekers and to help mature-age people find and keep a job.” 

Many of the Government’s Corporate Champions — employers who have made a public commitment to employing mature-age people — were also present and shared their experiences about the business benefits of having mature-age workers in their organisation. 

Ms Ellis encouraged Members and Senators to work with businesses in their local communities and to encourage them to embrace mature-age workers and make the most of Australian Government’s new supports. 

“Members and Senators know from assisting constituents in their local community that we are constantly hearing about the particular challenges faced by mature-age people in having their skills and experience valued and finding and keeping a job,” Ms Ellis said.

“Despite the many benefits of hiring mature-age workers, the fact is that when a person aged 50 or over is out of work for a while, they often find it very hard to get their foot back in the door. 

“And what older Australians are telling us is true - on average mature-age people (55+) face a period of unemployment of more than double that of the rest of the population. 

“As elected representatives, it is incumbent upon us to put the case to our local employers, promote the benefits of employing mature-age workers and encourage employers to give them a chance.” 

The Australian Government is offering practical support to mature-age job seekers and employers, including:

  • $10 million over four years for the Jobs Bonus—from 1 July 2012 a Jobs Bonus of $1000 will reward employers who recruit and retain a mature-age job seeker, aged 50 or over.
  • $15 million over four years to offer more support for Corporate Champions. 
  • $26 million to support intensive job preparation and training for mature-age people through the Mature Age Participation Job Seekers Assistance Package.
  • Extension of the Experience+ Career Advice service helping older job seekers market their skills and experience to potential employers.
  • $20 million over two years for skills assessments and training for mature-age workers through the Investing in Experience — Skills and Training Recognition initiative; and
  • An additional $35 million for the National Workforce Development Fund, to support projects with a focus on mature-age training. 

To find out more about new incentives for mature-age workers, go to