Australia is experiencing considerable demographic change, particularly as the first cohort of Australia’s baby-boomers reach the age of 65 over the next decade. In 1991, 11% of the population were aged 65 and over (2.0 million) and by 2021 this is projected to increase to 18% (4.2 million) (AIHW 1999:5).

The increasing proportion of older Australians in the population has potentially significant implications for the nation's welfare services and health care system.