While the number of older people continues to rise across Australia, various state governments are failing to make adequate provisions in their budgets for age-friendly housing solutions targeting this segment.

The Retirement Living Council (RLC) is calling out state governments for their collective lack of ideas, vision and strategies to appropriately house ageing populations around Australia.

“State budget season has delivered the same old stock standard approach with zero creativity or strategy, including in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia,” said RLC executive director Daniel Gannon.

“This lack of vision is frankly contemptuous to the 4.2 million retirees around Australia and the 710,000 people looking to retire in the next five years.

“Governments need to get creative and expand their vision for older Australians and their ageing needs,” he said.

Provisions and allocations made this budget season:

  • The WA Government provided cost of living, energy, water and local government bill relief to pensioners.
  • In SA, seniors health card holders had their cost-of-living concession doubled.
  • The Victorian government allocated $31 million to support aged care facilities.
  • In Queensland, pensioners received a rebate on electricity bills.

However, the Australian Government is yet to confirm whether retirement units are included in the Prime Minister’s 1.2 million new homes target.

“Cost of living relief for those on fixed income pensions is important, but that seems to be where the ideas start and stop,” said Gannon.

“State governments tend to have a celebrated focus on first home buyers, forgetting that if ‘rightsizing’ disincentives can be removed, hundreds of thousands of homes in the middle of the market could be freed up.

“If older Australians are incentivised to ‘rightsize’ into homes better suited to their ageing needs, it leads to better health outcomes for older people, reduced interaction with hospitals and aged care facilities, and more homes re-entering housing markets for younger people.”

State governments must also put in place minimum land allocations for retirement villages in greenfield and master-planned projects, similar to social and affordable housing, the RLC added.

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