The RLC welcomes the opportunity to respond to the State Planning Commission’s discussion paper on the Greater Adelaide Regional Plan (the plan).
As the successor to the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide, it is imperative that this new plan provides for adequate and diverse housing solutions for South Australians at all phases of their lives.
It is no secret that Australia, South Australia in particular, is undergoing a major demographic change. The 2023 Intergenerational Report identifies that there are currently 4.6 million people aged over 65 today, growing to 7.1 million by 2043.
There are currently 166,000 South Australians over 75 today, growing to 256,000 in 2040. This means there are 256,000 reasons to ensure that ageing remains a strategic priority for the State Government.
While the discussion paper does make reference to the 19.3 per cent of South Australians over 65, this is the extent of discussion about our ageing demography. This sits in contrast with the 2017 update of the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide (30-Year Plan), which acknowledged:
“Our baby boomers (who represent a quarter of our population) are either moving into retirement or are already retired. Many wish to downsize and move into accommodation that better suits their needs and lifestyles.”
At the heart of its submission, the RLC notes that retirement communities meet the needs of the ageing population by providing an environment where older Australians are able to maintain their independence and lifestyle, with ready access to health, wellbeing, care and support services.
Across the country, the retirement living industry’s market penetration of over-75s is 12.6 per cent, meaning this purpose-built housing type is doing important work for both consumers and governments.
Therefore, more emphasis needs to be placed on the diversity of housing options available to ageing South Australians, like retirement communities, including a reinstatement of 2017 references to ‘downsizing’ or ‘rightsizing’ into future decision-making around accommodation for older South Australians.