Wide Bay Aged Care: Priorities and Opportunities
The continuing delivery and potential expansion of flexible, quality aged care services promises increasing opportunities for Wide Bay, says Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.
Minister Wyatt said the region’s relatively high proportion of seniors was positive for local communities and employment, with more than 23 per cent of local residents aged 65 and over, well above the national average of 15 per cent.
“It’s vital we change our overall mindset on ageing,” Minister Wyatt said. “Seniors are now making great contributions to families, communities and commerce well into their 70s, 80s and, increasingly, to 100 and beyond.
“We are embracing a once in a generation opportunity to reshape ageing and aged care for this new generation who rightly want flexibility, choice and as much independence as possible.
“Safe, quality care is paramount but this is also about jobs of the future, with aged care already one of the nation’s fastest growing employment sectors.”
Following visits to Tewantin’s Carramar Aged Care Centre and Gympie’s Cooinda Aged Care facility, Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien, and Minister Wyatt hosted a roundtable meeting with local aged care providers.
Minister Wyatt said listening to locals and sharing ideas was vital.
“Events like this give me the chance to engage directly with people receiving aged care and those providing it,” said Minister Wyatt.
“Services in regional and rural locations like Wide Bay can face unique challenges and that is why the Turnbull Government continues investing strongly in supporting consumers and providers in these areas.”
Mr O’Brien said Wide Bay’s 16 residential aged care centres, seven Commonwealth Home Support Program providers and hundreds of home care recipients received more than $94 million in funding last financial year.
“This is fundamental to our commitment to strong communities,” said Mr O’Brien.
“Our priorities are supporting Wide Bay seniors to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible and helping ensure they maintain their local connections, whether at home or in residential care.”
Minister Wyatt encouraged younger people in Wide Bay to consider the growing career options in aged care, with the Productivity Commission estimating Australia will need almost one million aged care staff by 2050.
“From horticulture and catering, to nursing, caring, IT and senior management roles, it’s now time to realise it can be a career of choice with long-term opportunities,” said Minister Wyatt.
“As part of our reform agenda, the Turnbull Government has commissioned a wide-ranging workforce strategy, to underpin the skills and jobs growth required to meet aged care demand.”