Chinese market opens to Australian aged care

With the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement paving the way for Australian aged care providers to set up in the world’s second largest economy, the opportunities are potentially enormous as China seeks to double its aged care beds by 2020.

Aged care is being touted as an unlikely winner in the historic China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) which the Federal Government unveiled on Monday.

Under the agreement, Australian businesses will have unprecedented access to the world’s second largest economy.

The Department of Foreign Affairs described the concessions on Australian hospitals and aged care operators as China’s “best ever offer” in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Under the agreement, China will permit Australian-owned hospitals and aged care facilities to be established in China. “This greatly expands the private health sector’s wide offering of medical services through East Asia,” the DFAT advice said.

The opportunities for Australian aged care providers in China are potentially enormous.

Last year China announced plans to dramatically boost the development of its aged care industry, setting official targets to double the number of aged care beds to eight million by 2020.

It also plans to increase its aged care workforce, from around one million to 10 million by 2020, according to Austrade figures.

Professor Colette Browning
Professor Colette Browning

Professor Colette Browning of Monash University, who is an expert on health and ageing in China, said that China was Australia’s largest services market and the signing of the FTA would increase the influence that Australia has on the Chinese aged care and health 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,” Professor Browning told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“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,” said Professor Browning, whose research has examined the influence of Australian healthcare programs and practices on China.

“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, reflecting the 70 per cent services composition of the current Australian economy. The FTA provides a significant opportunity for Australians to work with Chinese colleagues to have a positive impact on these sectors in China,” she said.

Austrade reports that China “encourages private aged care service providers as the key to develop a strong aged care industry” and it specifically outlines the opportunities for Australian providers in China as:

  • training and education programs in HR
  • home care services
  • seniors living apartments/villages
  • design and planning for aged care, seniors living apartments
  • infrastructure investment and operation.
Recognition for RDNS

Meanwhile, at the inaugural Australia-China Achievement Awards in Canberra on Monday night, major community care provider RDNS was among the finalists recognised for developing bilateral relationships in China.

As Australian Ageing Agenda has reported, RDNS has built two major projects in China in partnership with local organisations, Zhongshan Vocational College and Beijing Real Estate Association/Geely University.

RDNS has been advising governments, hospitals, healthcare providers and peak bodies in areas ranging from nursing, home care services, education and training to seniors living design and management.

CEO of RDNS, Adjunct Professor Steve Muggleton said he was both delighted and honoured that the organisation had been recognised in such prestigious awards.

The Australia-China Achievement Awards were announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott during an address to the Parliamentary Dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Tags: austrade, china, Colette Browning, monash-university, rdns,

2 thoughts on “Chinese market opens to Australian aged care

  1. I feel we in Australia have advanced markedly in the care given to our “older” Australians and what a wonderful idea to share our knowledge with China. Of course we learn every day and what better way than gaining cultural experiences with another country. After all careing is universal. We as a country have some very gifted people hiding within our aged care workers

  2. We have been to China several times and we are trying to get into aged care in China by helping with training with dementia and healthy ageing
    We have written a book on the Practical Caring with Someone with Dementia and we like to get into China. There is a lot of problems with dementia in China

    Elite Health Care Australia.

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