SA Budget needs to address mature age unemployment

Media Release 4th July 2016

The state Government needs to deliver meaningful measures to improve the unemployment and under-employment of older South Australians or risk leaving them poorer, in insecure housing and less socially connected in their retirement.

COTA SA chief executive Jane Mussared has called on the state Government to ensure it addresses the growing jobless rates among people in their 50s and 60s when it hands down its Budget on Thursday.

"The government is attuned to the problems of youth unemployment but it needs to pay equal attention to the joblessness and age discrimination that is forcing more and more people in their 50s and 60s on to Newstart," she says.

"It takes older unemployed people, on average, twice as long to find work. Not only is this completely demoralising but it also robs many of an opportunity to build any semblance of financial or housing security for their later years.

"By helping older Australians remain in work for as long as they are able and willing, we pave the way for secure, independent and healthier older lives, which in turn eases the pressure on community and social services - so it is win-win for all of us."

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.

Besides its recommendations to promote mature employment, COTA also called on the Government to:

  • Establish a "Living Laboratory" in SA, in which researchers and industry would partner with older people to identify, design and test new products and services for national and international markets that more appropriately suit their needs.
  • Address the looming housing crisis, in which older people are being pushed into precarious housing and face increasing rates of homelessness. It recommends reviewing the accommodation options available to older people to ensure they can access affordable, accessible and stable housing as they age.

Please note: COTA SA CEO Jane Mussared will be available for comment outside the lockup immediately after the State Budget is handed down on July 7.

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)