China free-trade agreement a win for aged care

December 10, 2014 | Aged Care Management

The announcement of a historic China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) on 17 November opened the door for growth in various industries, including tourism and health.

However, aged care could in fact be the biggest winner – with benefits expected for years to come.

Let's take a look at just what this brand new agreement means for the growing aged care industry.

China market opens

This new agreement means Australian businesses will have access to the Chinese economy – currently the largest in the world.

What's more, Australian-owned aged care facilities will be able to open branches in China – a country that predicts a need for 7-8 million beds by 2020 according to Austrade.

Workforce requirements are also climbing, with 10 million workers needed, up from the current 1 million.

Professor Colette Browning of Monash University, an expert on Chinese ageing, explained to Australian Ageing Agenda that Australia is in a crucial position to influence the Chinese aged care sector.

"China has sought advice from Australian experts and providers in aged care, hospital care and primary care in the past and the FTA will strengthen these relationships," she said.

The ChAFTA isn't solely about bolstering the Chinese aged care sector, however, as there are also set to be numerous benefits locally. Primarily, shared access to information and resources could make it easier to manage aged care sector growth.

"Both the aged care and health systems in China are undergoing enormous change at present in terms of the way services are delivered and the training required to deliver these services."

Having a strong partner throughout this period of change will prove useful for both countries.

Future aged care

Establishing strong relationships now will certainly pay dividends in the near future as the Chinese and Australian aged care sectors continue on a growth path over the next few decades.

"While we are well-known for exporting our minerals to China, I expect that exporting knowledge and services in the health and aged care sectors will increase over the coming years," Professor Browning said.

"The FTA provides a significant opportunity for Australians to work with Chinese colleagues to have a positive impact on these sectors in China."

Aged care providers within Australia will now need to begin considering the potential applications of the agreement, so as to take full advantage in the near future.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities for success in the aged care industry today? Please contact us and let us know!