Aussie Official to Focus on Age Bias in the Workplace

August 3, 2011 ( - Ex-Hawke Government Minister Susan Ryan has been appointed Australia's first-ever Age Discrimination Commissioner.

Bullying among young people and exploitation of youths in the workplace, as well as improving healthcare in nursing homes, are among the issues Ryan plans to tackle, but she says the biggest challenge will be changing the cultural perceptions people have about older Australians in the workplace. 

“I expect that the biggest part of the job will be dealing with the very widespread discrimination against older people, particularly when it comes to jobs,” Ryan told AAP.  

According to the news report, in 2010, the Australian Human Rights Commission study into age discrimination found that mature age workers had been harassed by employers and co-workers about retirement once they hit 60 years old.  

Ryan told the AAP:”Employers large and small haven’t got a lot of skilled workers … they have to look at the ones they have. We need to raise awareness that older people are very often a good source of experience and skills.”  

Her appointment will take effect August 8.