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Retirement communities could play key role in meeting Australia’s housing needs, RLC says

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The Retirement Living Council (RLC) is calling on the Australian Government to include retirement communities as a key component in achieving the National Housing Accord target of building 1.2 million new homes by 2029, following the release of new Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) population figures.

The ABS data revealed that Australians aged between 75 and 79 years old continue to be the fastest-growing age cohort, with an annual growth rate of 6.7 per cent, significantly outpacing the overall population growth rate of 2.5 per cent.

RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon emphasized that the retirement industry requires 67,000 homes to be built by 2030 to meet existing demand from older Australians, but only 18,000 are currently planned. These 67,000 homes would represent six per cent of the Prime Minister’s 1.2 million new homes target.

“The Prime Minister’s 1.2 million new homes target is an admirably ambitious one, but retirement communities can help achieve this lofty goal as Australia ages,” Mr Gannon said.

He added that over the next two decades, the number of Australians over 75 will increase from two million to 3.4 million people, which will have socio-economic impacts on the nation.

Mr Gannon urged governments to better understand the potential benefits of leveraging retirement communities to help solve the housing crisis. He cited the “Better Housing for Better Health” report, which highlighted that retirement villages across the country save the Australian Government almost a billion dollars every year as the population continues to rapidly age.

“They achieve this through better designed homes that minimise trips and falls, which means residents can experience fewer visits to the GP, shorter hospital stays and delayed entry to aged care,” Mr Gannon said.

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He emphasized that building better housing can lead to improved health outcomes for both consumers and governments, but regulatory, legislative, and investment conditions need to support this ambition rather than hinder it.

The RLC’s call for the inclusion of retirement communities in the National Housing Accord target underscores the potential role these communities could play in meeting Australia’s growing housing needs, particularly as the population ages.

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