The Retirement Living Council (RLC) has welcomed the release of the Commonwealth Government’s retirement focussed discussion paper as an important opportunity to increase retirement community resident eligibility for financial support.
The Retirement phase of superannuation discussion paper has been released as the government seeks community and industry views on how the superannuation system can best provide the security and income Australians need as they live longer and healthier lives in retirement.
RLC Executive Director, Daniel Gannon said it was pleasing to see the Commonwealth Government looking to address a rapidly approaching issue.
“The release of this discussion paper is an important indicator that retirement living and Australia’s rapidly ageing population is on the radar of the Commonwealth Government,” Mr Gannon said.
“The recent Intergenerational Report reveals that the number of Australians aged 65 and older will double in the next 40 years to 7.1 million, meaning we need to better prepare for a ‘silver tsunami’.
“The retirement living sector has actual solutions to three of Australia’s biggest worrying trends – our housing crisis, the nation’s rapidly ageing population, and challenges associated with taxpayer-funded aged care,” he said.
Mr Gannon said obvious reform options are hiding in plain sight for the Government, with key recommendations coming from a recent landmark report, Better Housing for Better Health.
“As they investigate the best ways to support Australians through their retirement, the Government should increase the asset free threshold for aged pensioners, allow retirement village residents to access the Home Equity Access Scheme, and continue to reform Commonwealth Rent Assistance,” Mr Gannon said.
“We now know that 1.4 million people aged over 75 around the country are living in oversized homes, which can lead to more frequent interaction with GPs and hospitals.
“Encouraging and facilitating more seniors into retirement communities carries the added benefit of freeing up traditional housing stock for singles, couples and growing families, while delaying entry into aged care facilities which saves the Commonwealth $945 million every year.
“Until governments get serious about some of these important policy reforms that would unlock and facilitate more supply, our housing problems will continue to get worse,” he said.