Territorians working capacity under threat 


The Northern Territory’s strong employment growth will not continue without major changes to the Territory’s population, a leading population expert has warned.

Professor Tony Barnes (pictured), researcher with Charles Darwin University and the NT Treasury, said the Territory was relying on a fast ageing migrant and non-Indigenous workforce.

“There is a darkening cloud for the Territory workforce. We are rapidly getting older, in some ways faster than the rest of Australia and the Territory could be hit harder than elsewhere in Australia in coming years,” he said.

Professor Barnes said a recent increase in women and older men in the workforce had delayed the impact.

“These two demographics have delayed the inevitable reduction of the Territory’s economy and the quality of services,” he said. “A key long-term economic objective for the Territory must be to increase employment levels among our Indigenous population.”

Professor Barnes will join other researchers to tackle issues relevant to the Territory at the upcoming Australian Population Association 14th Biennial Conference, at the Alice Springs Convention Centre from Monday June 30 to Thursday July 3.

The urbanisation of Aboriginal people in the NT, mobility choices for older Australians, employment of overseas-qualified midwives and sustainability of mobile pre-schools will be explored.

More than 100 experts from CDU and across the globe will discuss issues surrounding demographic changes of the 21st Century with particular focus on Indigenous demography, policy responses to demographic change, and demography of Australia’s northern neighbours.