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Transcript - video 1 Leadership commitment

MR FITZGERALD: Maybe to start with a sort of a broader objective here, I think this is something that the public service should take a lead on, and I think we have taken a lead in other diversity, equality and other areas in the past. The reforms of the 1970s, you know, really led the way across society. The psychological or expectation barriers and issues that we need to identify and address, there's some really practical things, practical issues around superannuation and practical issues around health and safety in the workforce.

MS ROLLAND: Look, I think leadership is really important. I think aware leaders that understand the demographic shift that's occurring in our population today, and understand the implications for organisations is, you know -- - that is critical for leadership. And even though there's a level of understanding, I don't know that that's really translated into an understanding of the action that needs to follow. So, we know, you know, in the public sector, for example, we know we have a significantly aged workforce, and it's the most aged, you know, profile across industries in Australia, and there has been a lot of discussion, a lot of awareness raising in government, and we're starting to see some initiatives roll through, but I guess there's always that knowing/doing gap, that we know what we should be doing for a long time before we actually start doing it, and I think it's now that government is really starting to rise to that challenge.

THE HON. S. RYAN: I think there's something like 2 million Australians over 55 who are willing and able to work, be it full-time or part-time, and who can't get a go, can't get a foothold back into the workforce, and Australia can't afford to waste that human capital.

MR FITZGERALD: We kind of stopped talking about the mature aged workforce and talked instead about, you know, having an age balance within the workforce because it -- - which is a good way to think about it and it also shifts the thinking towards it's not just a risk that we need to manage, it's also a series of quite good opportunities for the workforce.

THE HON. S. RYAN: My message to leaders in the public sector and private sectors is look to the future. Older workers are the key to success for your organisation. We don't have a rapidly growing population. We don't have a bottomless pit of migrants, skilled migrants - we have some - so that the need for talent and experience and capacity underlies every successful organisation, and if you're overlooking that 2 million or so talented older Australians, then you simply won't find the skilled labour to do the job that you want, so your future is on a creative and positive use of our experienced older workers.

Last updated: 25 Mar 2020
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