SA Budget fails to deliver for older workers

Media Release 7th July 2016

COTA SA has welcomed the State Government's investment in job creation but is disappointed that the Budget has failed to deliver targeted measures that will tackle age discrimination and help South Australians secure adequate employment in their 50s and 60s.

COTA SA chief executive Jane Mussared said widespread age discrimination was leading to long-term unemployment and under-employment and robbing many older South Australians of the opportunity to create even the most basic financial and housing security for their later years.

"Unless we tackle ageism in the workforce, even the best job creation strategies will fail to translate into jobs for older workers," she said.

"This is a major oversight in a Budget built around jobs. Access to employment is fundamental to a healthy community and to a state that wants to be known as a place where its citizens age well."

While there wasn't much for older South Australians in the Budget, Ms Mussared applauded the Government's recognition of the need to explore affordable housing options for older women.

"While no new funding has been committed to this problem, the need for secure and low-cost housing for older women is now on the table and we look forward to working with the Government to ensuring this becomes a funded focus in future," she said.

"There is a drastic undersupply of affordable private and public accommodation that is leaving many older people - especially women - in an increasingly precarious housing situation."

COTA SA also applauded the Budget's investment in infrastructure in regional communities, including Whyalla. However, Ms Mussared said that more needed to be done to ensure that older people were part of planning for the future of our regional communities.

"Regional and rural SA has an older age profile than Adelaide. Older people are deeply invested in their regions but often there are not effective structures for them to be part of the strategies that will shape their future and that of their communities."

In its submission to the State Government, released in January, COTA SA made 18 recommendations to improve the health, housing and employment options available to the state's older population. The submission can be found here.

COTA SA is an older people's movement run by, for and with older people. We represent the rights, needs and aspirations of 590,000 older South Australians as part of a national federation which began in 1957.

For all interview requests, please contact:
Ashleigh Sambrooks - asambrooks@communikate.net.au | 0431 723 011
Maria Moscaritolo - maria@communikate.net.au | 0410 422 983

Download a copy of the media release (pdf)