ComAbility's NEWS ARCHIVES January- June 2012
Please note all content is available in larger format on request
Human Rights Commision submission to the Inquiry into the responsiveness of Australian Government services to Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse population.
Also launched today http://somethingincommon.gov.au/dig-deeper/respect/valuing-ability
Keeping our older workforce
Two recent discussions on this topic, both provide clear evidence that we have a problem, a need to keep older Australian’s in the workforce, that being over 50 does not diminish a person’s ability to work, that there is a need to respect and take advantage of existing skills and that we need to change negative perceptions of older workers.
Nothing yet on what we will also need to do to accommodate this workforce, ie deal with the natural elements of healthy aging such as reduced vision and hearing.
Mixed Findings Amongst HR Consultants
A recent survey by the AHRI of over 1200 HR consultants nationwide, had mixed finding on how mature workers are treated in the workplace.
Over a third believe their organisation is biased against older workers, with a third convinced that negative perceptions of mature workers don’t impact on employment practices.
83% would like to see their organisations take positive steps to retain older workers, whilsthalf supported that idea of government initiatives to help recruit more mature staff.
Demography is Not Destiny
On 8 March the Human Rights Commission –Aged Discrimination Commissioner –Susan Ryan gave a presentation at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, included in her talk..
" Employment specific human rights conventions contain provisions relating to the rights of older people to career guidance and training without discrimination.
A recent study by the Financial Services council, reported that 35% of middle income workers over 50 years, claimed they felt discriminated against because of their age.
From the ‘demography as disaster’ perspective, older people are seen entirely in negative terms."
She went on to outline details of a number of studies on workplace participation and retirement age. Overall very few Australians retire voluntarily before the age of 65. Many under 65 who are not working would prefer to be employed.
New ministerial position- Federal Minister for Multicultural Affairs
In the recent federal ministerial reshuffle a new ministry for Multicultural Affairs has been created. This reflects increased recognition by the government on the need to focus and implement multicultural and non-discriminatory policies.The new minister Senator Kate Lundy had previously been parliamentary secretary for Multicultural Affairs.
What do we do to inform people with a sensory disability and low English literacy about flood risk?
Floods across both NSW and Victoria, with more rain forecast. What are we doing to ensure ALL people have access to the information they need and are prepared?
Just checked the Victorian SES website, I couldn’t find any accessibility features. There are links to other languages, but written in English, then have to click again on yet another English word, to finally get to some information- which is not relevant to any immediate emergency!
I also discovered a link to something called Emergency Information Victoria. http://emergencyvic.info/ This is a trial site, but nothing in an alternative form.
To be fair I thought I’d check out the Bureau of Meteorology site and realised there are also no apparent accessibility or other features.
Finally, though not relevant with today’s weather, I had a look at the CFA site. Wow, major changes here since I last looked. The design includes clearer links, bigger typeface and ability to make larger, other language too…a great start.
The point is that unfortunately in 2012 our emergency services are only just now beginning to be empowered to ensure that their messages are available to all! I am aware that in some quarters there is discussion about this going on. Let’s all advocate and support them to work towards information, especially emergency, being more accessible in the near future.
Do our home grown TV programs reflect Australia’s Cultural Diversity?
This debate was kicked off last week by actor Jay Laga’aia, whist commenting on the axing of his role in Home and Away.
Predictably commercial TV representatives have defended their programming and selection of characters in local productions.Since then others have bought into the argument, commenting that the range of characters we see in our home grown TV productions fail to reflect the true diversity in our society.
My thoughts are that these comment don’t go far enough. Our programs not only fail to reflect our cultural diversity, but other forms of diversity in our society. An example is the tokenism also given to characters with a disability, who more often than not are actually played by an ‘able’ actor.
Release of Major Study on Aging Workforce
The Financial Services Council of Australia has release a research study into ‘Attitudes to Older Workers’. This study looks at workplace culture and impact on the over 50s in the workforce.
I feel this research is valuable as another indicator of the growing need in Australia to support our aging workforce. There is mention of the need for more flexibility in hiring and workplace practices, including to increase training options for those over 50.
However, only a passing mention is made of concerns about declining physical capabilities of older workers. There is no question that a gradual decline is physical capabilities, such as sight and hearing, are normal parts of aging. Yet, though we have significant strides in resources and accessibility communications this excuse continues to be a significant hidden factor is age related employment discrimination.
Will Windows 8 really deliver the accessibility features it promises?
Lots of promises being made about accessibility features being built into Windows 8. Due to be released later this year, it will be interesting to see what they actually deliver.
Australia Day Disgrace
Sad to say but my wish for Harmony and respect in 2012, has already been challenged. Respect needs to go both ways!
Happy Australia Day
To the first Australian's- the indigenous peoples I acknowledge the lack of respect, for you, your culture and the land, shown by the first white settlers and many of us since.
At the same time I applaude the many wonderful changes in Australia over the last 50 years- recognition of diversity, welcoming new peoples, cultures & faiths to our country.
Though far from universal and perfect, I am proud of my country and the work to undo the bad of the past, to nurture democracy,
provide a safe haven and respect all.
Today, as we celebrate our country, let's grab the spirit of Harmony and work together in 2012 for a better place and life for all.