Neil Matterson, Byron Bay
The Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, announced recently that the over 60s may need to retrain so they can keep working to 70 and beyond. A noble sentiment that, unfortunately, is completely devoid of any workable reality. Especially in Byron Bay!
As a mature age person (over 60, with recent Tertiary qualifications) and seeker of ANY part-time work, I have sadly come to the view that Byron businesses, in general, are ageist. There is every possibility that this is not just confined to Byron. No-one will admit to age bias but the face to face contact here leaves me with not many other conclusions.
One fortyish business owner said to me ‘I’ve never employed anyone older than myself’. Others have hinted at it by deflecting to the handy get-out line, ‘we have a lot of heavy boxes to be lifted’.
Employing the young is a fine sentiment. They seriously need to be employed. But only employing the young restricts the business’s growth prospects because the young, while they do mature, only mature slowly and therefore the benefit to the business, year on year, is small. The right mature age person can add the extra layer of ideas that can accelerate the business’s growth.
Here in Byron I assume that the young are mainly backpackers, (read cheap and easily gotten rid of when necessary). It doesn’t augur well for the long term economic viability of places like Byron when some catastrophe puts the brakes on tourism. There doesn’t appear to be a Plan B.
The Treasurer may not have made his announcement had he first spoken to businesses in Byron Bay.