Robert Fitzgerald will resign as NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner to take up a new position with the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Commissioner Fiztgerald, one of the nation’s most distinguished public servants, will begin a five year term as Age Discrimination Commissioner in April, replacing Kay Patterson.
Announcing the new appointment on Tuesday, Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said Commissioner Fitzgerald would lead the HRC’s work to address barriers to equality for older people and protect them from discrimination in education, employment, accommodation and the provision of good and services.
Commissioner Fitzgerald said he was quitting his post with regret and it was a difficult decision.
However, he said his new role will allow him to continue to promote the rights of all people to live free from discrimination based on age across Australia and internationally.
“In particular, the role will advance the rights of older people to live free from discrimination and abuse in all aspects of their life,” he said in a statement.
In a joint statement NSW disability inclusion minister Kate Washington and minister for women Jodie Harrison paid tribute to Commissioner Fitzgerald for his efforts as the state’s inaugural Ageing and Disability Commissioner, saying he had worked tirelessly to champion the rights of vulnerable people.
“Commissioner Fitzgerald’s strength of knowledge and leadership at the Ageing and Disability Commission has seen it become a model for other jurisdictions to emulate, as reflected in the recent Final Report of the Disability Royal Commission,” they said in a statement.
Commissioner Fitzgerald’s long career in NSW and federally includes working as deputy NSW Ombudsman, as a Productivity commissioner and as a commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
He has also served as President of the Australian Council of Social Services.
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