Demography `missing for planning'

HARNESSING population data to develop and implement government policies would have a huge impact on the state's finances, workforce demographer Lisa Denny said yesterday.

Ms Denny said Tasmania was the only state in the country without a unit or division within government advising on using demography in planning and policy making.

``We have a diverse and dispersed population which is the oldest, fastest ageing and one of the most fertile in the country,'' Ms Denny said.

``Yet we're not using an understanding of our population to inform the decisions we make.''

Ms Denny said the government needed to factor the state's demography into any social or economic policy it developed or implemented in the future.

``Capitalising on the use of demography data is a real opportunity for Tasmania,'' she said. ``In other states and territories it's done really well, but that's not the case here.''

Demographer Amina Keygan agreed, saying different areas of government were working simultaneously, but not collaboratively on forming related policies.

``Elsewhere in the world, countries and economies have been gearing up for their ageing populations for quite some time,'' Ms Keygan said.

``There are definite challenges associated with our demographic profile in Tasmania, but there are some very large, untapped opportunities that we're not capitalising on.

``The government needs to be proactive about developing efficient, innovative policy based on what's happening.''

The two joined workforce planning consultant Lee Veitch on a panel to discuss the topic with about 40 Tasmanian bureaucrats and policy makers in Hobart last night.

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