THE retirement age population of the Bega Valley is set to explode in the next 20 years.
Projections released by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure show the Bega Valley is set to grow by 4150 people, a 12 per cent increase
However, the majority of that increase is in the 65 and older age group.
The 15 and under age group is projected to fall by 2.8 per cent and the 15-65 age bracket by 7.3 per cent, while the 65-plus group will grow by an incredible 83 per cent.
The growth in the older population presents numerous challenges related to medical services, as well as accommodation.
The population of the entire South East region – which takes the Upper Lachlan, Wingecarribee, Goulburn-Mulwaree, Yass Valley, Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven, Tumut Shire, Palerang, Queanbeyan, Tumbarumba, Cooma-Monaro, Snowy River, Bombala and Bega Valley councils - will reach 412,000 people in 2031.
It’s an increase of 60,000 people in less than 20 years.
Across NSW, the state’s population will rise from 7.2 to 9.2 million by 2031 and the number of residents in the 65+ age group is expected to grow in the South East by 78 per cent – the strongest growth of any age group in the state.
“The changing make-up of the community will mean the planning system needs to be able to provide a range of housing choices,” Department of Planning acting deputy-general Andrew Jackson said.
“Clearly we will require more accommodation specifically designed for the needs of older people.”
Mr Jackson said the NSW government is also working closely the Federal Government to ensure appropriate services are provided to regional communities, especially as the make-up of their population changes.