This submission discusses the unique context of the Northern Territory for aged care service delivery. With its small, but ageing population, dispersed over a wide geographical area, accessible, affordable and high quality service delivery requires a vastly different operating model to its urban counterparts in more densely populated jurisdictions. Additionally, the Northern Territory has the highest proportion of Aboriginal people in its population, including members of the Stolen Generation, who have unique needs as well as different cultural concepts of ageing.
Despite this, the Northern Territory aged care system continues to operate under a national model that fails to meet to the needs of ageing Territorians. The inadequacy of the aged care system in the Northern Territory has resulted in excessively long waitlists to access higher level support, an overdependence on the health system and, in the community sector, overstretched and under-resourced services that struggle to provide the level of support required within funding constraints.
The Northern Territory needs an aged care system that is tailored to its unique context, recognising the specific needs of diverse, ageing Territorians.