The Retirement Living Council (RLC) has provided the Commonwealth Aged Care Taskforce with a range of solutions and opportunities to address the challenges of keeping the aged care sector operational, fair and equitable in the face of soaring costs.
RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon said the submission makes clear that the sector — which houses more than 260,000 older Australians — is uniquely equipped to reduce costs and resource load on government-funded health and aged care.
“The retirement living industry is at a pivotal juncture, evolving from a property-focused sector in years gone by to one that focuses on health, wellbeing and care. It is critical that the government understands these opportunities as it plans for the significant increase of older Australians and aims to keep the aged care sector operational.
“The population shift forecast by the 2023 Intergenerational Report will have socio-economic impacts on the nation, including the housing supply shortage and the pressure on an already struggling residential aged care sector. For these reasons, the Retirement Living Council has made a submission to the current Aged Care Taskforce review into funding models,” said Gannon.
Gannon said the RLC’s submission attempts to speak to some of the differences between retirement living and aged care, but also some of the great opportunities in front of us.
“Residents are on average happier, healthier and more socially connected and active than older Australians not living in age-friendly communities.
“Importantly, they have reduced interactions with GPs, reduced presentations at hospitals, and delayed entry into aged care – a lot of upsides for governments.
“The value in these efficiencies to government is almost $3.5 billion per annum, meaning government can continue to provide health and aged care services to Australians who need it most,” said Gannon.
Based on the 2022 Retirement Census responses, the development supply pipeline planned for over the next three years to the calendar year 2023 fell by more than half to 5,100 dwellings compared to the 2021 Retirement Census of over 10,500 dwellings.
Higher construction and debt costs and an uncertain economic outlook may have weighed in on the development pipeline.