Only 1 in 10 will work by 2031

BY the year 2031, less than one in 10 people will be working, according to statistics for the Wide Bay Burnett.

Projected figures showing a massive 48.5% of people in the region will have reached retirement age by 2031, while the remaining 43% are expected to be still in school as they will be 16 or younger.

These figures mean up to 91.5% of people in Bundaberg region could be out of the workforce within 21 years, not including people who are unemployed.

In a concrete sign of Bundaberg’s reputation as a “good place to retire”, the number of predicted retirees for the region soars above the state’s average, which stands at 36.3% aged over 65 by 2031.

The figures have caused concern for Local Government Association of Queensland president Paul Bell, who is calling for a public inquiry into how to manage Queensland’s booming population as they reach old age.

“In Bundaberg and the Wide Bay in particular, there is a real ageing population,” Cr Bell said.

“If there’s going to be another four million people coming into Queensland, Bundaberg will certainly be very much affected.

“The demographics are a cause for concern, with a large number of older people and fewer younger, working people to pay the bills.”

Cr Bell is calling for a population inquiry and has selected Bundaberg as one of four cities state-wide to host a public meeting where people can voice their concerns and opinions on the best way to deal with the expected influx.

Bundaberg Region Futures Program consultant Neil McPhillips said the region already had the highest dependency rate in Queensland — meaning there are fewer working people to compensate for every retiree or child.

“This is the battle the region is fighting — we’re already coming from behind the eight-ball because of our slightly older population,” Mr McPhillips said.

“But this is simply a trend based on current statistics, and it can be turned around. That is why we need to encourage young working families to the region.”

“We need infrastructure and education to create the skilled positions for the jobs they want.”

The Population Policy Inquiry public meeting in Bundaberg will be on Friday, March 12, from 10am to 3pm at the Civic Centre.

For further information, visit www.populationinquiryqld.com.au

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