Budget response: Retirement Living Council

The Retirement Living Council (RLC) has provided its response to the Australian government’s FY25 Budget.

The below comments can be attributed to RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon.

“This is a budget that focuses on the housing needs of some Australians but forgets about a large cohort of older people and challenges associated with age-friendly accommodation and care,” he said.

“The number of people aged over 75 around the country will increase by 70 per cent by 2040, which should lead to governments prioritising what is required to house this ‘silver tsunami’.

“Instead, it’s radio silence on why retirement villages still haven’t been included in the Prime Minister’s 1.2 million new homes target and what the government’s response is to the Aged Care Taskforce recommendations.

“Given the government is the judge, jury and executioner of this Taskforce and having already had five months to consider their own findings, noncommunication signals one of two things: it’s either bad news for consumers or it’s bad news for operators.

“But until we hear from the government, both parties remain in the dark.

“The unfortunate reality is that Australians aren’t getting any younger, and every day that passes without a plan to appropriately and affordably house and care for older Australians is a missed opportunity.

“If this is a pro-housing budget for all Australians, I’d hate to see one that isn’t,” he said.

RLC policy recommendation:

The Australian government should include units in retirement communities as a key delivery component of the Housing Accord target to build 1.2 million new homes nationwide by 2029.

Increasing the number of retirement communities across the country is a no-brainer for the government, as the benefits to the housing market are two-fold: retirement communities provide age-friendly and care-focused accommodation for older Australians while also injecting existing homes back into the market for younger buyers and growing families.

With the government’s own National Housing Supply and Affordability Council forecasting a 300,000-home shortfall against its target, the 67,000 retirement dwellings required to maintain existing market demand would close that gap by 22 per cent.

The ongoing exclusion of units in retirement communities from the Accord target is worrisome but can be rectified at any time.

It is in fact a very simple fix that can be addressed with a laptop and a bullet point.

/Public Release. View in full here.