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We Shine the Spotlight on Australia's Healthcare Industry

Healthcare in Australia

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in Australia. Between 2011 and 2016, the sector grew by over 14%. That growth is expected to continue, and as one of Australia’s leading providers of healthcare education, Charles Sturt University (CSU) will play a key role in the future of healthcare.

Why this phenomenal growth in healthcare? Increased prosperity and government policy decisions play a role, but arguably the leading driver of this growth is an ageing population. As people live longer, they require more care over a longer period. The government predicts that by 2050 some 3.5 million Australians will require aged care.

A regional shortage

The employment growth in healthcare is not all equal and there looks to be a problem in distribution.

A report by the Department of Employment highlights occupations that have shortages of suitably skilled workers, and where those shortages are most acute.

One of the key conclusions was that regional areas, in particular, have a shortfall in qualified healthcare workers, despite a growing demand. There were noticeable shortages in several allied health professions, including aged care and rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy. 

Tackling the problem 

The government recognises that attracting workers to regional areas is key to meeting the healthcare needs of regional communities.

The Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job program offers financial incentives to job seekers who move to a new area for work.

Payments can be up to:

  • $3,000 if relocating to a capital city
  • $6,000 if relocating to a regional area

The shortage in regional areas also means lots of opportunities for suitably qualified healthcare workers to carve out a distinctive and rewarding career. Workers will have more choices about the roles they take on, and greater scope for securing good pay and conditions plus career progression.

Maree Bernoth, Associate Professor of Nursing at CSU, says working in rural areas provides opportunities for graduates to escalate their progression to senior leadership roles.

“Career progression is faster and workers learn more complex clinical skills because they are not reliant on ancillary services that are more available in metropolitan areas. One minute there may be someone with a multi trauma from an accident, the next a woman giving birth, the next someone who’s detoxing. They never know what’s going to come in the door, so they have to be skilled in a lot of areas.” 

CSU is uniquely placed to help students make the most of opportunities in regional areas, and help the country meet its healthcare needs. As Australia’s largest regional university, CSU partners with many local organisations in the healthcare sector to deliver tailored learning and offer hands-on practical work experience.

Embracing opportunity

The current shortage of healthcare professionals in regional areas, combined with the future projection of Australia’s population (and its resulting healthcare needs), will mean opportunities.

Heather Robinson, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy at CSU, notes, “Rural practice offers some unique and varied practice and lifestyle options in an environment of demonstrated need.”

People with the right knowledge, skills and qualifications in healthcare can play a significant role in ensuring the future wellbeing of our communities – and enjoy an amazing career while they do so. 

This article was produced for Career FAQs by Charles Sturt University. 

Nursing, aged care, health admin, dental, health science and more - the heathcare industry is broad and offers practitioners a fulfilling and rewarding feeling! Kick start your career here with our range of courses in Health
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