TOO OLD: Gatton pensioner Greg Dyer is feeling the brunt of what he believes is “a type of discrimination” after approaching a local government-assisted jobseeking agency and being turned away because he was over the retirement age. Picture: Dominic Elsome
TOO OLD: Gatton pensioner Greg Dyer is feeling the brunt of what he believes is “a type of discrimination” after approaching a local government-assisted jobseeking agency and being turned away because he was over the retirement age. Picture: Dominic Elsome

Jobseeker turned away by job agency for being too old

GATTON's 73-year-old Greg Dyer is feeling the brunt of what he believes is "a type of discrimination" after approaching a local government-assisted job agency and being turned away because he was over the retirement age.

Mr Dyer, who is on a part-pension, said he visited Tursa Employment in Gatton last week for help looking for work, but was told because he was above retirement age they were unable to help.

In Gatton, Tursa delivers the Disability Employment Service Grant which is governed by the Department of Social Services, and confirmed it was generally only able to work with people already assessed by Centrelink to ensure they were eligible, and not over the pension age.

They recommended Mr Dyer attend another job agency in the area, however, he said he would like to see the focus of job-help agencies - government and independent - expanded to be more inclusive of people above retirement age.

He said he felt unsupported in his efforts to "get off the pension".

"If old workers want to continue to work there should not be an obstacle from employment-assistance agencies," Mr Dyer said.

"Without the grey nomads out there, there would not be a lot of work completed.

"This is a type of discrimination, for the older ones who do not want live on the pension.

"I was a bit shocked to think the government is talking about keeping people at work, and here they are, an assisted government agency saying they can't help.

"Why can't they help aged people with employment? You can't stop companies sacking people, you can't fix that one. I'd just like to see the law changed."

The former forklift driver of 20 years said he was completing an ag taining course which - once he had his TAE in training and assessing - would allow him to pursue training pathways.

"I'm okay - I'm not stuck, but that's not the point. I want to dump the pension," he said.

Mr Dyer said he would be keen to work with young people entering the farming industry to help young kids "get off the streets" as well as older farmers clean up their properties.

Mr Dyer said job search agency Seek operated online, "but 20 per cent of the people they're dealing with haven't got computers".

Murray Harvey, chief officer of disability employment services at Tursa Employment and Training said this week that the not-for-profit organisation in Gatton delivered the DES Grant.

"As we deliver the DES Grant on behalf of the Department of Social Services, we are required to adhere to their guidelines," Mr Harvey said.

"In our guidelines it states that we are not able to commence a participant on our program who is at or above the age pension qualifying age.

"As a result, we were not able to provide disability services to the gentleman who attended our premises.

"It should be noted though, that our disability employment advocate spoke to the gentleman about his work experience and did recommend an employer who may be suitable in the local area."

He said the Gatton site only delivered the DES program, and on the DES program throughout all sites in NSW and Queensland, about 400 people aged 60 and over received help.

Mr Harvey said there were other job active providers in Gatton that might be able to help.

He said Centrelink referred eligible participants to employment service providers who were generally receiving a government payment that required the person to look for work.

However if a person was not receiving government support, and was over the age pension qualifying age, they could be helped to find work by registering as a volunteer on the Federal Government's Jobactive platform.

Assistance could then be provided from Jobactive providers listed on the Jobactive website.

"In a number of our locations we have Jobactive, but in Gatton and Toowoomba we only have DES," Mr Harvey said.

Independent labour hire companies, he said, may also be able to support people over 65 if they matched roles they had available.


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