Kate Ellis

Federal Member For Adelaide - Website



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18 Apr 2012

Minister for Employment Participation
Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care



18 April 2012

PRESENTER: Kate Ellis is the federal Employment Participation Minister. She joins me on the line now. Good morning to you, Minister. Good morning.

KATE ELLIS: Good morning, good to be with you.

PRESENTER: Minister, is can you just outline what this initiative is, where the thousand dollars is going, who it's going to, et cetera?

KATE ELLIS: Absolutely, we can. What we know is that mature-age Australians, when they find themselves unemployed, are unemployed for almost double as long as any other group in the community. So what this is, is trying to help give people a chance to get that foot in the door. What we're saying is that there will be 10 000 of these jobs bonuses, which will be $1000 each, which will be paid to the employers when they take on, and keep on, a mature-age Australian.

This is about basically us trying to work to change employer attitudes. We know that there are a whole range of reasons for this. But as Everald just outlined, there's no doubt that there is discrimination in some cases. We need to actually change the whole community's way of thinking so that we look to mature-age Australians as both people having years and decades of skills, of experience, as being a positive in our community.

If that means that we have to offer a bit of a carrot to get that change in thinking amongst employers then we're happy to do that because we also know that once people put on a mature-age Australian they normally find that they're incredibly happy with their skills, with their experience, with their loyalty and they keep them on and often employ others.

PRESENTER: Now, the participation rate of older workers in the workforce has been going up. I wonder why it is then that you feel bosses need financial incentives to employ these people?

KATE ELLIS: Well, what we do know is that the employment and participation rates have been high in Australia across all different groups, except it is mature-age Australians which are the only category in that we're not now above the OECD average.

So we do know that we're not doing as well there as we have been in other groups. But we also know that, I mean, one: it's about the statistics, it's about participation rates but two: I can tell you and I think any member of parliament across Australia could tell you we're constantly hearing at our offices from people in the community who believe that they haven't been given a fair go. And we know that we need to change attitudes.

So changes to our population, people living longer, people working longer, baby boomers now in the retirement years, means that we have to change those community attitudes. This is one element of our Government's approach in doing that.

PRESENTER: So there'll be 10 000 opportunities over four years with this initiative. Have you got any limitations on how many workers a company can introduce or what kind of companies can actually be involved in this initiative?

KATE ELLIS: No, we haven't as yet. We want to change the attitudes of companies big and small and this jobs bonus which we're announcing today will work in partnership with a program which we've trialled previously and we're also announcing a $15 million extension of today, which is called Corporate Champions.

In that, the Federal Government is partnering with the Australian Industry Group, who are working with employers. They're working, they're providing training, they're looking at ways that they can re-skill or up-skill mature-age workers and change the attitudes amongst corporate Australia. So this will work in partnership with that scheme. It's about changing attitudes and basically it's just about giving a fair go to people who have a huge amount to offer.

PRESENTER: All up, how much does this data cost the Government?

KATE ELLIS: This so the two programs combined will be $25.6 million in this year's budget.

PRESENTER: Kate Ellis, many thanks for joining us today.

KATE ELLIS: Thank you.

PRESENTER: Kate Ellis there, federal Employment Participation Minister there, on the $1000 that's being offered to businesses to take on older workers, or workers over 50, and also about an initiative to help those workers up-skill. It's eleven past ten.


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Kate Ellis' Electorate: Adelaide

Covering 75 sq.km, the electorate includes the Adelaide central business district, North Adelaide, the surrounding parklands and adjacent suburbs in every direction.
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