Merle Summerville.
Merle Summerville.

Older worker payment an insult

EMPLOYERS should not need cash payments from the Federal Government to convince them to hire older workers, Page Independent candidate Merle Summerville said.

Ms Summerville, 56, took issue with a Coalition policy announced yesterday that would deliver cash payments of $3250 to employers who gave jobs to people aged 50 and over.

The policy, announced by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, would apply to workers who were registered with Centrelink.

Ms Summerville said the policy was wasteful.

“I am 56 years old and every over-50 I know who is still in the workforce can work as hard, as clever and as continuously as a younger person,” she said.

“What does Tony Abbott thinks happens after 50? Does he think people suddenly are no longer capable of participating? Does he think the brain cells die? Does he think we will lose our way to work?

“The smart employers already know what a good wicket they are on employing older people – we will not be at the geriatric stage for at least another 20 years, especially if there is no age discrimination in the workplace.

“It is to young people's advantage to appreciate the older worker to allow them to have paid maternity leave and to ensure all their taxes are not taken up paying pensions to the baby boomers.”

Page Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan said the policy was aimed at helping people who were already unemployed, and at addressing discrimination against older workers.

“We agree that sometimes these people are the most valuable in our community, but what happens is they get discriminated against by some employers,” he said.

Mr Hogan said the hope was that the incentive payment, which would be made after the worker had been in the job for six months, would get an unemployed older worker into a position, but that their skill and experience would keep them there.

The rebate would come in from July 1 next year, if the Coalition wins government, and be reviewed after three years. It would be paid for from saved unemployment benefits.

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