Call for state budget support to promote healthy ageing in Victoria


The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) is urging the state government to prioritise funding for research and workforce training in the upcoming budget. This investment will help keep older Victorians healthier and living independently for longer, reducing the strain on healthcare services.

NARI, Australia’s only institute dedicated solely to research into health and ageing, has submitted a proposal to the Victorian Government for the 2024/25 budget. The institute is seeking $5.5 million over three years to address key issues related to the state’s ageing population.

NARI’s research aims to enhance the quality of life for older Victorians by focusing on several critical areas:

  1. Fall prevention: Keep older Victorians safe by avoiding preventable falls – reducing hospital admissions.
  2. Workforce upskilling: Upskill workers to improve care, support earlier discharge, and decrease occupational violence.
  3. Dementia support: Guide implementation of the National Dementia Action Plan in Victoria; and
  4. Addressing social isolation: Address social isolation amongst carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The impact of an ageing population

As the number of Victorians aged 60 and over is expected to increase by 60% to 2.3 million people within two decades, the impact on healthcare services is significant. Older adults are more likely to present to GPs and hospitals with age-related health concerns, such as dementia, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Additionally, those aged 65 to 85 have a higher incidence of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, compared to previous generations.

The specific cost of caring for people living with dementia in Victoria exceeds $2 billion, partly due to a 20% higher chance of presenting to an emergency department compared to those without dementia. Furthermore, Australia spends more than $4 billion annually treating injuries resulting from fall-related accidents.

The need for investment

Briony Dow, Director of the National Ageing Research Institute, emphasises the importance of investing in evidence-based solutions to address these challenges.

“Now is the time to invest in the practice change that will ensure that older Victorians spend less time unwell – less time being dependant, admitted to hospital, or living in residential care – and more of their life living where they want to be,” Dow says.

“Without continued support from government, NARI will be forced to cut jobs, reduce the scope of its research, and wind back its role upskilling the health and aged care workforce.”

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