4 December 2015
The Australian Human Rights Commission is undertaking a National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians and Australians with Disability, the “Willing to Work” inquiry.
Longer lives are the most positive development in the last century of human history. They represent the product of greater prosperity, better diet, disease eradication and healthier lifestyles. They offer each of us, on average, 25 extra years of high quality living with new opportunities for productive work, unprecedented leisure, teaching and learning, and fulfilling relationships with family and friends.
Too often, longer lives are represented in the media or treated by policymakers as a negative.Â We talk about the costs and burdens of ageing, rather than the social and economic benefits of these additional years.
We welcome the Australian Human Rights Commission’s efforts to address the obstacles faced by older Australians actively participating in the workforce through the national Willing to Work inquiry. Below we make two specific recommendations that we believe are crucial for ensuring older Australians can fully participate in the workplace.
The challenge facing us is not our ageing population, but the need to create policies that embrace the social and economic potential of longer lives. Healthy and active ageing presents us with great opportunities for older Australians to keep participating in the workforce and the community for longer.