Source: The Mercury, 6 April, 2001, p.5


Jobless fall tipped as Tassie ages

By ANNE BARBELIUK

TASMANIA'S high
unemployment rate will
begin to reverse in five
years and leave the state
with a labour shortage,
a report predicts.
	The turnaround will be
part of a national trend
but Tasmania will be the
first state to feel the
effects.
	The prediction comes
from a national report
prepared for the federal
Department of Aged Care
and was backed up
yesterday by Tasmanian
population expert Natalie
Jackson.
	The Access Economics
report says Australia's
ageing population will
lead to a decline in the
working age population
those aged 15 to 64.
	It shows Tasmania's
working population will
hit a negative growth rate
by 2003, followed by
South Australia in about
2010 and Victoria in
2012.
	"There will simply not
be enough school leavers
to replace retiring 65-
year-olds," it says.
	The report recommends
employers retain their
ageing workforces as a
way of averting the
situation, but Dr Jackson
said the labour shortage
could be good for
Tasmania.
	"Soon we'll see
unemployment really
start to improve. I think
it will be great," said Dr
Jackson, social demography
lecturer at the University
of Tasmania.
	Dr Jackson's research
shows Tasmania has
63,617 people aged 65
and over, but that number
will peak in 2035 with
118,000 people in the
age bracket.
	However, the working-
age population will have
shrunk from its current
level of just more than
300,000 to just below
200,000.
	Tasmanian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry
chief executive Damon
Thomas said the health
needs of the ageing
population would place a
strain on the public purse
and could therefore negate
possible workforce
benefits.


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