Review into Commonwealth legal barriers to older persons participating in the workforce or other productive work

Having regard to:

  • obstacles faced by older persons in actively participating in the workforce

  • the desirability of reviewing Commonwealth laws to remove limitations on, or disincentives to, participation in the workforce by older persons, and

  • the definition of ‘older persons’ as anyone over the age of 45 years, consistent with the definition of ‘mature age worker’ used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

I refer to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) for inquiry and report, pursuant to s 20(1) of the Australian Law Reform Commission Act 1996 (Cth):

  • the identification of Commonwealth legislation and legal frameworks that contain or create barriers to older persons participating, or continuing to actively participate, in the workforce or in other productive work (paid or unpaid), and

  • the question of what, if any, changes could be made to relevant Commonwealth legislation and legal frameworks to remove such barriers.

Scope of the reference

In undertaking this reference, the ALRC should consider all relevant Commonwealth legislation and related legal frameworks that either directly, or indirectly, impose limitations or barriers that could discourage older persons from participating, or continuing to participate, in the workforce or other productive work, including:

  1. superannuation law
  2. family assistance, child support, social security law and relevant government programs
  3. employment law
  4. insurance law
  5. compensation laws, and
  6. any other relevant Commonwealth legislation exempt under the Age Discrimination Act 2004.

In conducting this inquiry, the ALRC should also have regard to:

  • the work undertaken by the Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians including its initial, second and final reports

  • the work being undertaken by the Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation and any recommendations made in the Forum’s interim report and final reports

  • the work to be undertaken during 2012 by Safe Work Australia to investigate options to address age discrimination in workers’ compensation legislation, and

  • the work being undertaken by the Attorney-General’s Department to consolidate Commonwealth anti-discrimination laws into a single Act.

Consultation

In undertaking this reference, the ALRC should identify and consult with relevant stakeholders including relevant Government departments and agencies, the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation, and key non-government stakeholders and peak employer and employee bodies.

Timeframe for reporting

The ALRC will commence this reference no later than 31 March 2012, and will report no later than 31 March 2013.

Nicola Roxon

Attorney-General