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Media comment: Ageing demographics in the Gympie region

23 May 2018 

The Gympie Times 

 

How does the council plan to cater for/address an aging demographic?

This is not a new trend across the Gympie Region, as retiree’s relocate as their new place of residence. This is a consideration for council and the day to day work delivered, with examples such as the planning scheme, economic development, enabling access to continuous learning, events and activities.  Council also plays a key role in advocacy for and support of industries such as health care and social assistance and the volunteer workforce.

 

The increasing age suggests the younger demographic (about 18-30) is shrinking in the region. Does this change concern the council? What is the council doing to keep these people around?

No. The Gympie Region is becoming a place of interest for young families as the area appeals with ample schooling opportunities from primary to tertiary, proximity for commuters to areas such as the Sunshine Coast and the low cost of housing and living across the region.

This in mind, work has been undertaken to look at the promotion and marketing opportunities outside of the region to attract families looking to relocate.

Council also have several upcoming initiatives: Economic Development strategy which will support and encourage business for job creation, areas for young people such as the youth precinct or skate parks and a tourism strategy is also being developed to raise the profile of the region and increase tourism numbers.

Council also actively supports the Sunshine Coast University. The university allows young people to stay in the region without the need to relocate. It also attracts and encourages young people into the region to complete their education.

 

Does the council have any initiatives in the pipeline to grow the health and aged care industry (which has been one of our biggest growth markets in the past decade and is only going to get larger)?

Council is looking into this area, understanding this is a growth market and under resourced across the region. Council officers, in conjunction with such work as the Economic Development Strategy will look at options for council to support the industry and to encourage business into the area. Noting there has been significant growth with a 38.8% increase in the health care and social assistance field from 2006 to 2016 in the Gympie Region.

 

Is the council concerned by this change given that historically, for a number of reasons, older workers can find it very hard to land employment? Especially given Gympie’s historic unemployment troubles?

No. this is not a new trend for the region, with retirees making up a large part of the number. However the above work mentioned will continue to support the economic growth of the region and the job creation that follows.