Young Australians are being urged to consider careers in the rapidly growing aged care sector.
Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said strong, long-term demand and the promise of new professional pathways made the sector an ideal employment choice.
“We are entering a golden age of ageing,” Mr Wyatt said.
A $5 billion increase in aged care funding over the next four years, announced in last week’s Federal Budget, would drive even more career growth across the sector, he said.
“Today, Australia’s aged care workforce is around 366,000 people but by 2050 we will need that to grow to nearly one million to meet demand.
“Opportunities are growing, from health professionals to project management, administration, robotics, information technology, marketing, specialised construction, horticulture, interior design, fitness, catering and languages.”
Around 15 per cent of the population, or 3.7 million people, are aged 65 and over - a figure expected to grow to 25 per cent by 2050.
The government is due to receive Australia’s first aged care workforce strategy by 30 June, which will include career and training pathways and requirements.
Mr Wyatt also said that national consultations started on Tuesday this week to help ensure thousands of new residential aged care places are located where they are most needed.
Aged care stakeholders have been invited to take part, to help inform the 2018-19 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR), also announced in the 2018/19 budget last week.
Over the next four years, 13,500 new residential aged care places, 775 short-term restorative care places and a further $60 million in capital investment would be made available in this ACAR.
Mr Wyatt said the results of the consultations would help guide the distribution and targeting of new places and capital grants in each state and territory.
“We are keen to hear about the gaps in current aged care availability, not just in terms of locations but in terms of special needs and the requirements of particular groups, such as people from regional, rural and remote areas and people living with dementia,” he said.
The consultations end on Monday, 28 May 2018.
Stakeholders will be sent an email with a link to the consultation hub, where they can complete a survey about unmet demand for aged care within a local area.
National peak aged care organisations, Aged Care Assessment Teams, Primary Health Networks, local councils, consumer groups, and aged care approved providers are among those who will be invited to take part.
Details of the consultation process, known as the 2018–19 ACAR Consultation — Identifying Residential Aged Care Needs, can be found on the Department of Health website.
Organisations that are not initially invited to take part in the consultations can access the survey by contacting the Department of Health at firstname.lastname@example.org.