There are calls for expansion of a NSW State Government program which funds ageing and disability workers in metropolitan and major regional councils.

Councils in rural NSW say they are being left out of the scheme, and their need is particularly poignant this week.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Keith Rhoades says it is hard to fully celebrate NSW Seniors Week when so many seniors were missing out on the support provided by Ageing and Disability workers during the remaining 51 weeks of the year.

“This is the week we are supposed to ‘Be Inspired’, and to celebrate the richness and depth seniors bring to our communities,” Cr Rhoades said.

“But that contribution is no less important in the bush, where there are no Ageing and Disability Worker positions funded by the State Government.

“It just doesn’t make sense that these positions, of which there are about 60, are located only in cities and major regional hubs.

“It’s not right and it’s not smart.”

Cr Rhoades said the number of NSW residents aged over 65 was expected to increase to almost 25 per cent of the State’s population by 2050.

“Meanwhile, increasing housing costs in the cities can mean more and more seniors are moving to rural and regional areas, so demand for the support of seniors outside of cities may only increase.

“We need fairer funding arrangements and that means extending funding for Ageing and Disability workers to all councils in NSW.”

Cr Rhoades said seniors living in rural and regional areas needed joined-up services that were integrated and responsive to individual needs.

“That’s where Ageing and Disability Workers come in,” he said.

“They provide a real, human grassroots connection between seniors and community services, helping the older generation stay active and independent.

“Real results are being delivered by these workers – results we’d all like to see replicated in every Local Government Area in NSW.

“If we really want seniors to ‘Be Inspired’, it’s time for the State Government to ensure the older generation has the support and community linkages they need – no matter where they live in NSW.”