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Willing to Work National Inquiry launch

Disability Disability Rights

The Australian Human Rights Commission is pleased to announce Willing to Work: A National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australian and Australians with Disability.

The Inquiry will be conducted at the request of the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC. It will be led by the Age and Disability Commissioner, Susan Ryan.

The Attorney will launch the Inquiry at the Commission’s office today (location details below) at 0915 for 0930. This is a media launch and journalists are invited to attend.

“Willing to Work is most timely as employment rates for both older people and those with disability remain unacceptably low,” said Commissioner Ryan.

“We all lose when willing people are excluded from workforce.”

“Research by Deloitte shows that increasing the older workforce by 5 per cent would bring an extra $48 billion annually to Australia’s GDP,” she said.

While about a quarter of the population is older, they make up just 16 per cent of the workforce. Australians with a disability make up 15 per cent of the working age population, but only 10 per cent of them have jobs.

“Despite these statistics, evidence shows that people with disability and older Australians are willing to work,” said Ms Ryan.

“The inquiry will seek to identify the barriers that prevent people from working, and in consultation with employers, affected individuals and other stakeholders establish strategies to overcome these barriers.

Commission President, Professor Gillian Triggs agrees that there is much work to be done in this area.

“Each year, one in three discrimination complaints we receive is related to the Disability Discrimination and a third of those relates to employment. There are clearly significant barriers for older Australians as well – 60 per cent of people who complain to us under Age Discrimination do so due to treatment at work or trying to get work,” said Professor Triggs.

The Inquiry will shortly publish an issues paper, a call for submissions and plans for consultations around the country.

“We hope to engage employers of all sizes across public and private employment as well as older people and people with disability themselves and their representative organisations. We will have the cooperation of the relevant government departments. The common goal is to improve opportunities for those experiencing workplace discrimination and maximise human potential to the benefit of all of us,” said Ms Ryan.

The Inquiry will conclude and report by July 2016.


Time:   Arriving at 0915 for 0930 launch
Location:  Australian Human Rights Commission
Level 3, 175 Pitt St

Media contact: Sarah Bamford (02) 9284 9758 or 0417 957 525

Live streaming from 9:30 AM: