With the Prime Minister’s Australia 2020 Summit just days away, seniors and aged care lobby groups are starting to clarify their key messages.

National Seniors’ CEO Michael O’Neill who will be representing older Australians at the summit, said his main focus will be on combating the stigma attached to ageing.

“The 2020 Summit is the time to recognise that an ageing population is an opportunity, not a threat,” he said.

“If we learn how to do this right and create economic opportunities from ageing, Australia can reap huge benefits: in terms of the economy and social capital.”

Mr O’Neill said in a statement an ageing population would provide economic opportunities in industries such as building, health, assistive technology and aged care.

But Aged and Community Care Victoria CEO, Gerard Mansour has warned Australians to be “alert and alarmed” about the state of aged care as it approaches 2020.

Mr Mansour said that the core issues facing aged care are funding levels and the difficulties in attracting and retaining a sufficiently skilled workforce.

In order to secure the future of aged care Mr Mansour called for an annual funding adjustment of at least 4 per cent for residential and community care in his summit submission.

Mr Mansour also said the Government should bring forward the maximum aged care funding instrument (ACFI) payments from 2011 to this year.

On the workforce front, he said extra funding was crucial along with the development of an industry Workforce Strategy Plan including features like additional funding for scholarships and HECS exemptions.

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