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Aged care needs 2020 vision: Salt

The retirement of the baby boomer generation will significantly alter how and where aged care services are delivered in the future, Bernard Salt has told the ACSA conference.

Australia needs to increase skilled migration to prevent a crisis in aged care at the end of the decade, demographer Bernard Salt says.

Salt delivered the keynote address to the Aged and Community Services national conference in Hobart on Monday, telling the audience the aged care system could be stretched beyond breaking point in 2020.

He said the problem was primarily caused by the baby boomer generation leaving the workforce.

"The first of the baby boomers hits retirement age in the middle of next year," he said.

"So for the first decade, that will simply be a push for wellness and wellbeing. There will also be a boon in volunteering, because people are still fit and well in their 60s and 70s.

"The real issue comes in the 2020s when the baby boomers hit their late 70s and into the frail retirement age, and that's when the impact really bites."

Salt said the problem was exacerbated by the fact that a third of aged care sector workers were over 50.

However, targeted migration could help replenish this workforce, he said.

"You can respond in two ways - madly scramble and open new schools and training facilities, which is what we did with the doctor supply line," Salt said.

"The other way to do that is to really target migration and really preference or weight towards nurses and health care professionals.

"What that requires is for governments to maintain their resolve."

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