Gippsland’s ageing paradox

An imbalance between a growing ageing population and a shrinking number of health service providers in Gippsland was among discussions at a Traralgon forum.

Leading Age Services Australia chief executive for Victoria Trevor Carr spoke to more than 30 Gippsland providers about the sector, expressing concern about a diminishing workforce.

“It’s a paradox reality. In a time of significant growth with an ageing community, we have shrinking work availability,” Mr Carr said.

“It’s economy 101 of supply and demand. If there’s a shrinking on the supply side and increasing demand, the supply side becomes more expensive, and that is a significant issue for us.”

Other issues at the forum included community and home care, consumer directed care and residential care.

Mr Carr said the council areas of Latrobe City, Baw Baw and East Gippsland all had higher age profiles than the Victorian state average.

The 2015 Intergeneration Report projected in 2030, 7.2 per cent of Latrobe City will be aged over 80 compared to the state average of 5.8 per cent, while East Gippsland is at a staggering 10 per cent. Mr Carr said the local demographics would require some close consideration in the way policy was applied.

He said Leading Age Services Australia was also developing policy around the Federal Government’s withdrawal of the payroll tax supplement, considering 50 per cent of residential carers use private providers.

“We’ve made a proposal to federal and state governments that we need to have a conversation about this as it was unilaterally withdrawn,” Mr Carr said.