Age discrimination in Australian Workplace Legislation Petition

Older Australians participation within the workforce retains their invaluable skills, knowledge and experiences and assists in addressing the economic implications of a growing and ageing population.

The Australian Government has introduced policies to increase employment and workforce participation of older Australians. These include programs to address attitudinal change, re-training and re-skilling programs and job search supports. Other initiatives include raising eligibility for the Age Pension from 65 to 67 by the year 2023.

Many older Australians are choosing to remain within the workforce for longer to enhance their financial security and to ensure an adequate standard of living during a historically longer duration of retirement.  

The mandatory retirement age was abolished in 2004 with the introduction of the Age Discrimination Act. The Acthas made it unlawful for a person to be refused employment, dismissed or denied a promotion, harassed or selected for redundancy specifically because of their age.However,a number of indirect age-based retirement practices still remain within Australian workplace legislation.

The Age Discrimination Act does not legislate against the application of age restrictions in policies that fall outside the jurisdiction of The Act. For example:

  • Workers Compensation Policies – Access to support is typically based on an age limit of 65 in most States and Territories, with the exception of Western Australia and Queensland. This means that those injured at work beyond age 65 who do not have independent income would be forced to retire.
  • Concessional Redundancy Payments- Tax free redundancy payments are not extended to people aged 65 and older.  If you are aged 65 and older, your redundancy does not meet the genuine redundancy rules and it will be taxed.
  • Superannuation Income Protection - Income protection can provide payments of up to 75 per cent of income during a period of illness or incapacity. However, income protection insurance under your superannuation ceases at 65 years.

National Seniors CEO, Michael O’Neill, says that "Governments can lead in crushing out-dated attitudes by dismantling their own age limits across workers compensation, redundancy payments, superannuation and income protection.” Australian workplace legislation is clearly at odds with the changing demographic of Australian society and the changing needs and aspirations of older workers.

If you believe that people aged 65 – 70 should have the same protections that are currently available to younger workers, please sign the petition below. 

National Seniors believes that access to workers compensation payments, tax free redundancy payments and superannuation income protection should be extended to people aged 65 - 70 to account for the need or individual choice to continue working.

We call on the Australian government to amend discriminatory workplace legislation and to work with the State and Territory governments to form a nationally consistent framework for workers compensation.