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Property advocates warn of ‘ageing crisis’ in new state housing plan

Property advocates have aired concerns over new state government housing plans to halt retirement home development around NSW.

This comes as the state government releases amendments made to its environmental draft housing policy (SEPP), which has removed retirement living from specific planning zones and raised the minimum age of entry from 55 to 60.

NSW executive director of the Property Council of Australia Luke Achterstraat said that the plans will have negative consequences for the ageing population.

“The draft SEPP is seemingly a response to local governments wanting to shut the door to the new development of age friendly communities,” he said.

“Despite all the evidence, there are no meaningful plans, or strategies to start mitigating the impacts of an increasingly older population.“

According to the NSW Intergenerational Report, one quarter of the state will be over the age of 65 by 2061.

Research released by the Property Council estimates that this will create a demand of around 72,000 independent living units over the next 40 years.

These projections will not be met based on current development levels, according to Achterstraat. 

“This potential draft housing SEPP will make reaching that even harder, so it’s quite critical that it’s dealt with and fixed.”

The new proposed housing plan consolidates five existing draft SEPP’s, and has also mandated that boarding houses be used for affordable housing.

A spokesperson from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment told Aged Care Insite that the reforms aimed to provide “more diverse housing choices to people in every phase of their lives”.

“The SEPP incentivises seniors housing and helps to ensure it is delivered in appropriate places, closer to the services that people need as they age,” a spokesperson said.

“People are accessing seniors housing later in life and our proposed changes reflect the time when people are most likely to start making decisions about the best home to suit their future needs.”

According to the state department of housing website, it is indicated that the new amendments are due to be finalised before the end of the year.

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