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Ian Smith

Ian Smith

Executive Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development

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Take advantage of unprecedented demand for quality health and aged care services

Take advantage of unprecedented demand for quality health and aged care services

Image credit: Department of Premier and Cabinet

In 2016, the health and aged care sectors in Regional NSW employed 187,145 people and in 2018 contributed A$13.6 billion to the economy.

NSW has Australia’s largest health system. Our medical technology sector supports 3,000 businesses and generates A$12.7 billion in revenue a year. NSW operates the country’s largest public healthcare system with an operating budget in excess of A$20 billion, over 228 hospitals and 114,000 full time employees. Australia also has the 12th largest pharmaceutical sales market in the world and the second largest in the Asia Pacific.

We are living longer, and more of us are living with chronic illness. People over the age of 65 will represent 20% of the population in 2030 compared to 14% in 2006. Retirement villages, residential aged care facilities and associated services are all in demand across Regional NSW, and the needs of older people are growing.

Migration to access aged care services and facilities has created investment opportunities in the aged care sector in regional areas of NSW. There is a current shortage of aged care places in a number of locations in Regional NSW. Investment is needed to meet the Australian Government’s target of 125 subsidised aged care places per 1,000 people over 70 years of age by 2021-22.

Regional providers have care-related staffing costs of around A$35 per consumer per day, compared with A$39 for metropolitan providers. They also have the highest level of average earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of any providers.

The private sector is already playing a significant role in general health care in Regional NSW, with private medical hospitals and practitioners providing most primary care services. Private practitioners are able to support hospital services in the public system, in addition to the private regional hospitals. The NSW Rural Health Plan: Towards 2021 recognises the importance of partnerships between government and private providers to meet the growing needs of the community.

We are also committed to helping advanced medical research. For instance, the NSW and Australian Governments recently announced a A$18 million investment to develop a rural health and medical research facility located in Orange in the Central West region and a A$41 million investment in a world-first proteomics project, ProCan, based at Westmead Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) .

Furthermore, Centres for Innovation in Regional Health excel in providing research- based health care in Regional NSW, including running clinical trials. NSW Regional Health Partners was established to accelerate the translation of evidence into practice to improve the health and wellbeing of regional communities, and is working in the Central Coast, Hunter, New England and North West and North Coast regions.

Government support for the health and aged care sector in Regional NSW

The NSW Government has prioritised the development of public and private rural health services in its NSW Rural Health Plan: Towards 2021.

The NSW Government is investing in creating state-of-the-art health infrastructure and has committed a record A$8 billion to major capital programs over the next four years. Over the next eight years, NSW Health will also invest over A$500 million in eHealth initiatives to make sure its technology can continue to support the delivery of quality health services.

Aged care, including residential aged care and home care providers, is primarily funded through the Australian Government with co-contributions from the consumer. The Australian Government grants licenses through a tender process, known as the Aged Care Allocation Round (ACAR), for which approved aged care providers can apply. Approved providers can apply through ACAR for capital grants for residential aged care facilities.

The Australian Government also supports service delivery in regional areas through a viability supplement for both residential aged care and home care.

For more details, visit the assistance page.

Some of the health and aged care companies based in Regional NSW

Success stories in Regional NSW's health and aged care sector

Get in touch

Ian Smith

Executive Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development
Office contacts
Suite 1, Level 1
47-59 Wingewarra Street
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