Unemployed seniors are backing the Coalition’s policy

SENIORS lobby groups say Tony Abbott’s job incentives for the over-50s are a “vote-changer” for the 90,000 mature-aged workers who are out of a job.

The Opposition Leader yesterday promised a Coalition government would pay employers $3250 to hire over-50s who are unemployed.

National Seniors Australia chairman Everald Compton said the policy was a step in the right direction. Mr Compton said he did not think the amount alone was enough to entice businesses to hire older people, but where an employer was deciding between two candidates, one older and one younger, it could be enough to tip the balance in favour of the person over 50.

“We estimate that there are 90,000 seniors out there in the community who would like to work and simply can’t get jobs because of the prejudice against older people,” he said. “In some of the marginal seats, that could be an important issue. For those people, this is a vote-changer.”

The Coalition would also scrap the superannuation guarantee age limit from 2013, so workers over 70 are not forced into early retirement.

And it would ask the Australian Office of Financial Management to look at offering 30-year government bonds. At the moment the low-risk bonds are available for up to 15 years.

The Coalition policy also includes $7 million for grants to councils for measures to make seniors safer. Together, the policies cost a modest $32.5m.

Mr Abbott said providing employers with payments to hire older workers would not cost taxpayers a cent because only people already claiming unemployment benefits would be eligible.

He denied the policy was about bribing employers to hire older Australians at the expense of younger workers.

Instead it was aimed at counteracting “ageism” in the workforce.

Mr Compton said the package was a step in the right direction — but if the Coalition won government, National Seniors would be lobbying for “even greater things” in the budget.

He said the new position of minister for ageing and seniors announced by Mr Abbott yesterday should be in cabinet.

Source: The Australian

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