Bridging WA’s seniors housing gap must be policy priority

 

There is a clear housing gap emerging for WA seniors, as planning regulations, stifle the industry’s ability to meet the growing needs of WA’s aging population.

The recent survey by the The West Australian found that 70% of West Australia seniors would expect to receive in-home care.

However, we are not building enough retirement villages and aged care facilities to cater to the remaining 30%.

“By 2050, we will need an additional 24,000 retirement living units to meet growing demand,” Property Council WA executive director Lino Iacomella said.  

“Currently legislation is hindering industry efforts to meet those needs through the restrictive memorials system.

“Placing a memorial on land earmarked for retirement living, hampers development efforts to incorporate retirement living with other uses such as mainstream residential, commercial etc.

“This can often make projects unviable leading to a shortfall of seniors housing.  It’s time the legislation was changed to reflect the changing needs and wants of WA seniors.

“Planning frameworks also need to be adapted to embrace emerging trends such as vertical villages and inter-generational living.

“Creating spaces that can safely meet the needs of seniors and allow them to remain an active member of society is essential to their wellbeing and the betterment of the wider community.

“Vertical villages will allow seniors to embrace retirement living lifestyle, while remaining in existing suburbs in the area they already know.

“Embracing medium-density living can provide high-quality, lo maintenance housing options, while still enabling all of the community amenity, such as polls and social spaces, available at traditional villages.

“There simply isn’t the land available to continue to develop lifestyle villages in the traditional way, without expecting seniors to relocate into greenfield outer suburbs,” Mr Iacomella said.

 Action plan to bridge the seniors housing gap:

  • Legislate for the Partial lifting of memorials from the Retirement Living Act to enable mixed-use and inter-general living
  • Update planning regulations to allow for more vertical villages to enable infill development and aging in established suburbs
  • Release more vacant land, for retirement living development, through the sale of Government assets 

Media contact:  Lino Iacomella  |  M  0417 501 974   |   E  liacomella@propertycouncil.com.au