Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis has slammed businesses that fail to give older people "a fair go".
She's urging them to sign up to a $15 million government program that aims to give mature age workers a fair go in the workplace.
Under the Corporate Champion plan, businesses would be given up to $10,000 each to take advice from an industry expert on how to improve staff recruitment and retention, with cash bonuses for employers who recruit mature age job seekers.
The government is hoping 250 businesses will sign up to the anti age discrimination scheme, following a successful pilot.
"This isn't about forcing people to keep working beyond when they would like to retire," Ellis told reporters in Sydney's CBD on Tuesday.
"This is about recognising there are currently thousands of mature age Australians who want to work and are not being given a fair go."
She said too many mature age workers were being "thrown on the scrap heap" whereas businesses needed to take advantage of their skills and experience.
Boosting mature age participation by five per cent could grow the economy by 2.4 per cent, or almost $48 billion, by 2025, Ellis added.
She said older unemployed people were out of work for an average 95 weeks in NSW and 72 weeks in Victoria.
Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan said there were too many myths about employing older people that need to be dismissed.
"All in all, they are very committed, reliable employees," she said.
Lyndall Jones, human resources manager at Invocare, which owns funeral homes and cemeteries, said the average age of her company's employees was 48.
"Our clients want people with life experience and maturity," she told the Sydney Corporate Champions forum, attended by Ellis.
"It's a no brainer for us."
Soucre: Industry Search