Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2014 Contents Lisa Denny
Darren Mathewson Lee Veitch
GLAMORGAN SPRING BAY is
picture postcard Tasmania.
The municipality in the south
east coast of the island state
runs from the Denison River at
Bicheno and takes in the Maria
Island and Freycinet Peninsula
But along with its captivating
natural beauty, Glamorgan
represents another characteristic of
Tasmania -- an ageing population.
Just under half of Glamorgan
Spring Bay's population is aged
over 65, and that segment is
"Tasmania is the oldest
state in Australia," says local
demographer Lisa Denny.
"Our median age is 40.9 years
compared with the Australian
median of 37.1 years."
Tasmania's population is
ageing for different reasons to
Australia as an aggregate, Denny
says, and this provides both
challenges and opportunities for
the local aged services sector.
"What makes Tasmania age at
a faster rate is what's known as net
interstate migration. Essentially,
as a state, we lose more people
of working age than we gain. This
makes our population of working
age contract considerably."
Denny has a phrase for what's
happening in Tasmania; she calls
it the "double whammy effect".
Not only is the state's population
ageing proportionally, and bringing
with it an increased demand for
aged services, its supply of labour
is diminishing at the same time.
The net interstate migration
is linked to the state's economic
performance. To put it plainly,
people go where the jobs are. In
2012, one of Tasmania's worst
economic years, the state lost
people in all ages groups from 0
to 59 years, says Denny.
"That contracting workforce
needs to supply labour to all of
the industry sectors in Tasmania.
So the aged care sector needs
to position itself as an attractive
sector in which to work, because
it's highly competitive in terms
of the labour market, and will
become increasingly so."
A compounding challenge for
local aged services, according to
Denny, who conducted an aged
care workforce census in 2010,
is that close to 50 per cent of the
workforce is aged over 45. "So
not only are we going to have to
increase the number of people
working in the sector, but we
have to replace the ones who will
be retiring," she says.
The good news, in Denny's
view, is that given Tasmania's
depressed local economy, the
aged services sector offers
workers some highly desirable
prospects, such as security,
flexibility and growth.
To capitalise on that
opportunity, local aged services
have come together to spearhead
a range of initiatives focused on
workforce and training.
Darren Mathewson, CEO of
Aged and Community Services
Tasmania (ACST), says the
sector realised it needed to "get
in and drive the training and
A network of providers across
the state is now engaging with the
training sector on a regular basis,
he says. Roundtables between
aged services and registered
training organisations (RTOs) are
facilitating a "two-way conversation
that allows RTOs to talk about the
challenges they face in developing
and delivering courses, and for
providers to drive the issue of
quality, price and responsiveness,"
The goal is that, when it
comes to workforce training, aged
services are "market makers" and
not just "market receivers".
The roundtables also ensure
the RTOs are kept abreast of the
ever-changing policy and practice
landscape in aged care, he says.
"CDC is a classic example. We
presume RTOs will pick up the
knowledge base and deliver
it into the sector, but we need
to support them and provide
some of that intelligence so their
training is contemporary."
In fact, collaboration is the
recurring theme in the overall
approach being taken by the
aged services sector in Tasmania.
As Mathewson explains: "The
future in this state is how health,
primary health and aged care
can collaborate in a whole range
State focus Tasmania
Strength in numbers
With a shrinking workforce in the
state, aged services in Tasmania are
forced to compete with the health
and disability sectors for staff, but
as Darragh O'Keeffe discovers,
stakeholders have decided their
future lies in collaboration.
Mt Wellington and the historic
Battery Point in Hobart, Tasmania.
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