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Commission launches new national inquiry

Graphic: Australian workers

The new national inquiry, Willing to Work, will examine employment discrimination against older Australians and Australians with disability.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched Willing to Work: A National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and Australians with Disability.

The Inquiry will be conducted at the request of the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC. It will be led by the Age and Disability Commissioner, Susan Ryan.

"Willing to Work is most timely as employment rates for both older people and those with disability remain unacceptably low," said Commissioner Ryan.

"Research by Deloitte shows that increasing the older workforce by 5 per cent would bring an extra $48 billion annually to Australia's GDP," she said.

While about a quarter of the population is older, they make up just 16 per cent of the workforce. Australians with a disability make up 15 per cent of the working age population, but only 10 per cent of them have jobs.

The inquiry will seek to identify the barriers that prevent people from working, and in consultation with employers, affected individuals and other stakeholders establish strategies to overcome these barriers.

The Commission will shortly publish an issues paper, a call for submissions and plans for consultations around the country.

"We hope to engage employers of all sizes across public and private employment as well as older people and people with disability themselves and their representative organisations. We will have the cooperation of the relevant government departments," said Commissioner Ryan.

"The common goal is to improve opportunities for those experiencing workplace discrimination and to maximise human potential for the benefit of all of us," she said.

The Inquiry will conclude and report by July 2016.

For more information, visit the Willing to Work website.

Date: 15 April 2015

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

Image credits

  1. Australian workers - Australian Human Rights Commission