Opinion: Building for the Baby Boomers

In this opinion piece, Managing Director of Ansell Strategic, Cam Ansell, discusses new state government initiatives to ensure the housing needs of older people are met.

In 2010, Peter Costello released the Inaugural “Intergenerational Report” which gave us a sharp reality check on the fallout from Australia’s ageing population.

The report predicted that the steep increase in fertility rates after the Second World War would see the Baby Boomer generation emerge as the most influential cohort in our nation’s history.

Costello predicted that if we didn’t plan for it, that influence could prove devastating.

And now it’s here – the youngest of the Baby Boomer generation turned 71 this year and within a decade the majority of this country’s wealth will be controlled by people that have retired.

They are also the largest proportion of outright homeowners – unfortunately, most of their homes are not built for their needs nor their preferences.

Authorities at all levels of Government have, in the main part, paid lip service to the planning of multi-generational communities. As a result, the provision for accommodation for older people has played second fiddle to more lucrative traditional residential developments.

The Federal Government projects that we need 84,000 new aged care beds in the next decade, requiring an investment of more than $35 billion.

We are falling dangerously behind those targets, most acutely in Western Australia. However, there are signs that attitudes might be changing.

Before being elected to office this year, the Labor Party made a commitment to facilitate the development of aged care and seniors accommodation for older Western Australians.

On 31 October, the Minister for Transport, Planning & Lands, Rita Saffioti, revealed the Government’s plans to release state-owned sites specifically for the delivery of accommodation for the aged.

Rather than delivering services on traditional standalone sites, the Government’s “Directions 2013 and Beyond” will favour developments that integrate seniors’ accommodation with mainstream residential developments, particularly where transport and public amenity are readily accessible.

The first site is being made available within the Claremont on the Park precinct (pictured above), surrounding the historic Claremont Football Oval. It’s the last LandCorp parcel left on the highly successful development site, with their remainder being quickly sold for predominantly apartment developments.

The site comprises around 5,500 square metres and LandCorp will favour offers that integrate the development within the Claremont on the Park precinct as well as the adjacent Claremont shopping district.

This represents some of the most valuable lands in the West.

Initiatives of this nature will be paramount across the entire country if Australia is to be prepared for the greatest demographic shift in our history.

There has been some strong interest from individual local government authorities but a more focused effort is needed if we are to be prepared for this new paradigm.

For further information on Government initiatives in the aged care and retirement space please contact Cam Ansell or Amber Cartwright at Ansell Strategic on (08) 9468 7520.


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