Property Council hosts 'Illawarra Retirement Lunch' in Wollongong

Thursday's event. Picture: Supplied
Thursday's event. Picture: Supplied

ENSURING that high-quality and age appropriate housing options exist and are accessible for people in the Illawarra were among the topics discussed on Thursday. 

The Property Council hosted the ‘Illawarra Retirement Lunch’ in Wollongong.

Attendees could learn about current trends, diverse senior housing developments and the future of senior living in the region.

Property Council Illawarra regional director Michelle Guido said with one in four people in the Illawarra aged 65 and over, it’s vital that high-quality, age appropriate housing options exist and are accessible for people in the region.

The keynote speaker was Jeremy McKinnon, senior manager of Advisory at MacroPlan Dimasi.

Mr McKinnon said his address looked at the “future retirement opportunity for the Illawarra”, with a focus on highlighting the critical nature of this opportunity, and the development that would be required to underpin this.

“Like everywhere, the Illawarra region’s ageing dramatically,” he said.

“So that means there’s a massive requirement for age appropriate housing.”

Mr McKinnon said the base-line development requirement for the Illawarra was creating 2000 independent living units, 1000 manufactured housing estate dwellings and 1500 residential aged care facility beds by 2036. 

“That’s a pretty conservative figure… There’s also a considerable existing demand on top of that,” he said. 

Mr McKinnon said there needed to be regulatory change at both a state and local government level.

“Currently, the biggest issue for delivery of this product is competition against normal residential development for apartments.

“Typically, retirement just isn’t the highest and best use for most sites. They have large cost imposts upfront that residential developments don’t have, for example.

“Yet they have to compete for residential zoned sites with the residential developers. So I think there’s a real need at a state level firstly to better define the need, to quantify the need in the regional planning.

“But then also at a local government (level) it needs to be better entrenched in the local land use policies to support delivery of this age appropriate housing.”

Other speakers included Professor Alison Jones from the University of Wollongong; Leanne Taylor, executive leader strategic innovation and development at Warrigal; and IRT Communities CEO Stig Andersen.