Call to harness skills of the aged

THE Northern Rivers’ aging population offers the region as many advantages as challenges, Federal Minister for Aging and Richmond MP Justine Elliot has said.

Ms Elliot made the comments at this week’s Coastal Councils Conference at Byron Bay, where Australian Bureau of Statistics demographer Andrew Howe warned the region faced a big jump in the proportion of residents aged 65 and older in the coming decades.

That was only one of several warnings delivered to Australia’s coastal councils over the course of the two-day conference.

Concerns raised ranged from the need to adjust services and infrastructure to suit the needs of an older population, to ways to protect coastal communities’ economic future and to retain and attract young working-age people.

While Ms Elliot agreed aging populations presented challenges for councils, they also offered advantages in terms of their wisdom and experience. The trick for councils was to harness those skills to the benefit of their communities, she said.



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