Hyper aggressive aged care lobbying a gift for the retirement living sector

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“It’s a gift!”

That is how every retirement living operator and executive should be viewing the determined and aggressive lobbying campaign aged care operators threw at the Federal Government yesterday.

As we reported yesterday as breaking news, the four major faith-based groups (Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics and Uniting) have banded together, drawing in ACSA and LASA, to put the ultimatum to the Federal Government to accept and commit to implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission (due out in two weeks) or they will make aged care an election issue.

The Government holds power by a majority of just three seats.

To confirm they mean business, they named the 15 marginal electorates they will hit, and released this TV commercial to demonstrate they are ready to play.

Retirement living can be a winner

The retirement village sector and land lease communities are both in prime position to win as a result.

The Commissioners openly stated their objective is to address the quality and safety of the last 10 to 15 years of all Australians’ lives, not just the last three to four.

The Counsel Assisting’s recommendations envisage new models of affordable housing like this:

Both retirement village and land lease sectors have the mature legal and operational structures in place to fast-track hybrid models of accommodation.

Home care delivered into supported living villages will create new revenue

Back to the future!

Village operators can look to expand their product range to include supported living – that is accommodation with higher levels of funded Home Care Packages. This sounds like the 1990s and the Low Care model.

The reality is the Government’s current strategy is for people to stay at home longer – which is cruel in anyone’s language if they need the support, they will get in an aged care home – which is often non-medical. The Royal Commission will change this with funding for a mid-way support and accommodation service. Villages stand up.

It is already happening. Supported living village operators like LDK Seniors’ Living in Canberra now have an average new village resident age of 82-84, compared with the sector average of 76.

Not For Profit Bolton Clarke has six mixed developments in construction worth several hundred million dollars.

They know that each resident will deliver a higher Government funded home support income on top of their village resident net worth to the operator.

Breaking down development barriers – State and Local Governments required to play

The Royal Commission will demand that State and Local Governments get on board, recognising that little can be built in a timely manner without them.

Like the National Cabinet for COVID, the Commissioners are likely to urge the same for aged care development when it comes to new ideas.

This is (highly likely to be) real

The Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics and Uniting are not the types to start something they can’t finish, especially when it means a virtual gun to the head of the Government, and more specifically Scott Morrison. They can’t half win if they want to have a seat at the table next time.

A betting man will think that the recommendations that matter will be taken up by Government.

They will also be acted on reasonably promptly as each day they are not, the operators are subsidising the Government’s responsibility. They don’t like that.

So, village and land lease operators need to be aware of the detail of the Commissioners’ Final Report and be factoring them into business plans now – the new opportunities – and the threats for those that don’t engage.

Because this is real; it is not another Report destined for a shelf. And we can all thank the new aged care consortium for this gift of a positive, enterprising future.


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The Weekly SOURCE is the leading media for retirement living and aged care businesses, delivering sector-specific news through four mastheads. Operating as part of The DCM Group, The Weekly SOURCE also provides a directory of proven sector specialists and an insights exchange.