More Older Aussies Seek Newstart
12 May 2014 at 11:43 am
More jobless Australians in their 50s and 60s are seeking the Newstart allowance, new figures out of the Department of Human Services have shown.
According to the figures, sought by the Australian Greens, the total increase of Australians aged 50 and over on Newstart has increased by 57,691 people from December 2010 to December 2013.
The figures show that currently there are 197,572 Australians in their 50s and 60s on Newstart – a 41.2 per cent growth. Comparatively across all demographics on Newstart in the same period there has been a growth of 26.7 per cent.
The recent National Commission of Audit recommended that the retirement age to be increased to 70 years old.
The Australian Greens said the Abbott Government’s changes to pensions and the retirement age would lead to more older Australians in their 50s and 60s facing unemployment and poverty.
“There has been an alarming increase in the number of older jobseekers living on Newstart Allowance over the last three years,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services, said.
“There’s no doubt that bad policies, like cuts to single parents and changes to eligibility of the disability support pension have contributed to this increase, and we’re now on the verge of a series of cruel budget cuts that have the potential to dump more people onto Newstart.
“Issues such as discrimination, fewer employment opportunities for older workers and inadequate job services make it tough for people forced out of the workforce to find new employment. Rather than working to address these issues, the Government is planning a series of cuts and making people work until they’re 70.
“Helping older Australians back into the workforce protects them from poverty and boosts our national economy. It’s been estimated that Australian suffers a $10.8 billion economic loss each year by not utilising the skills of older Australians.
“The Greens support calls from the Age Discrimination Commissioner for a National Mature Age Employment Plan, and have already proposed a range of measures that could underpin this approach.”
Senator Siewert said that under the Australian Greens’ plan, older job seekers would receive more intensive support as soon as they enter the job services system, and important issues such as age discrimination and the need for flexible working arrangements would be addressed.
A spokesperson for Federal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews said the Coalition Government was committed to boosting job opportunities for all Australians including mature age workers.
“For example, From 1 July 2014, employers will receive up to $3,250 who employ mature age job seekers who have been on Newstart, Parenting Payment, Aged Pension, Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment for at least six months,” the spokesperson said.
“Also from 1 July job seekers can receive up to $6,000 for relocating to a regional area to take up a job. Up to $3,000 will be paid to eligible job seekers who relocate from a regional area to a metropolitan area to take up a job. These initiatives were pre-election commitments.”