Metropolitan Melbourne attracting most interest for 2020 ACAR – but some providers still hitting ‘pause’ on developments

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Aged care providers are still planning applications for the 10,000 residential care places in this year’s Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) – postponed from March until at least September this year – but questions remain over how many of the 2020 licenses handed out will result in real beds as uncertainty over the sector’s viability and continues.

James Underwood tells us that they are fielding a good level of interest in this year’s ACAR despite the delay, but some areas are attracting more attention than others.

With metropolitan Melbourne only awarded 23 beds in the 2018-19 ACAR – despite covering four aged care planning regions including Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula – James says there is “tremendous” demand for beds.

Overseas entrants – namely the New Zealand operators that have crossed over the ditch including Ryman Healthcare – are adding to the pent-up demand for the region.

Likewise, James says that Perth is seeing good growth while Adelaide remains a strong performer because of its high residential occupancy rate – the highest in Australia – and the relatively few beds handed out – just 497 in the last ACAR.

Traditional hot spots including Sydney’s metropolitan areas – especially the Northern and Inner West suburbs – and southeast Queensland are also in demand, James adds.

Areas that received a higher number of beds in 2018-19 such as regional NSW and regional Queensland understandably aren’t attracting as much interest.

This is backed by some providers who tell us they are holding off on developing new homes not only because of the pandemic, but also because they want to see the models of care that the Royal Commission will recommend in its Final Report due in November.