Looking at your area from a demographic perspective: Mid Murray
Maybe I’m showing my age, but a recent trip to Mid-Murray Council reminded me of the old TV series F Troop. In the TV series, to get to Fort Courage, you had to turn left at the rock that looks like a bear, and then right at the bear that looks like a rock.
Mid-Murray Council, one of .id’s most recent clients, boasts a spectacular rural outlook, interesting demographics – and a rock that looks like a polar bear.
Bear Rock is just outside Palmer, a small town located about 15km from Mannum. It’s famous in the area for being painted to reflect certain occasions at different times of the year. For example, it’s often painted with an Australian Flag for Australia Day.
Mid-Murray Council covers a large geographic area, north-east of Adelaide, and includes major Murray River localities such as Mannum, Blanchetown and Morgan. Their demographic, like many regional areas, shows an ageing profile.
However an interesting trend can be found in their volunteer workers. With an ageing population, it’s often assumed that there will be more volunteers, as historically, the participation rate actually increases as for males above 55, and slows only slightly from a high base for females.
Volunteering age, ABS Voluntary Work Survey 2006
However – even with large gains in post 55 age population, Mid-Murray’s volunteers have actually fallen between 2006-2011.
The answer may be found in the figures relating to providing care for an older person or a person with a disability or long term illness.
It seems Mid-Murray has a very large increase in people providing unpaid care. This increase may be “soaking up” the potential volunteering, as these people are essentially “volunteering” their time to caring for an older or disabled person.
Is this the trend in other places in Australia?
Yes, especially in more remote areas, as the population ages this is an increasing trend. More and more baby boomers (such as early retirees) are engaged in caring for their older parents, especially as life expectancy improves.