Tasmania has an ageing population.
It is no secret that as people are living longer, and more people are staying in the state, our average age is increasing.
Data from the 2016 Census showed there were 509,965 people living in Tasmania and the average age of our population was 42 (not elderly, by any stretch, but older than other areas).
Investment in the aged care sector is booming, with million dollar expansions at Glenara Lakes underway and reasonably new facilities popping up across the region.
In addition, legislation to provide for our elderly and ageing residents is on the increase with assistance such as home care packages.
However, the demand for even this service is astronomical – in September it was estimated that about 7000 Tasmanians had been assessed for the home care packages but had yet to receive assistance.
With our ageing population in mind, it is logical to think that Tasmanians would have the most to benefit from the federal government’s Royal Commission into aged care, which was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last year.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 17 in South Australia to hash out more of the finer details.
That’s why it’s important that Tasmania is on the list of locations for public hearings into the sector.
Tasmanians who both work in aged care or who are clients of aged care deserve to have their say on the highs and lows of the industry – and also suggest their potential fixes. Aged care has also been identified as an industry in Tasmania that has been hit by the skills shortage – which is affecting other parts of the state.
As Carers Tasmania rightly point out – it’s not that the issues in aged care in Tasmania are worse than anywhere else’s, but more that we have a higher proportion of people who may or will be impacted by the changes.
Any potential changes to the industry or solutions need to be heard in Tasmania and Tasmanians have the right to contribute to that context through public hearings.