Year in Review: 2019

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In both the retirement village and aged care sector it has been a big year – but not as big as many hoped when it comes to optimism and investment.

In retirement living, land lease communities continue to gallop ahead with existing and new operators seeking out new locations up and down the eastern seaboard, and Ingenia crossing the $1 billion valuation mark.

Retirement villages have seen action, predominantly driven by a small number of not-for-profit operators committing hundreds of millions of dollars each to five-year development programs.

Meanwhile Aveo has been sold at a discount to Brookfield and Stockland has pulled back from seeking a buyer, not wanting to undervalue their portfolio. Meanwhile they have up to 10 properties they are earmarking for land lease community development and they have made their first DA application in Townsville.

Home care has seen an extra 100 operators join the sector, up to around 950, despite the fact that the profitability has shrunk to less than three dollars an hour. Most operators have less than 100 clients and they wait for the government to release more packages.

But the big story for the year has been the Aged Care Royal Commission into Quality and Safety. The Interim Report titled ‘Neglect’ is confronting, challenging and perhaps not a truly representative exposé on the 800 operators.

This will be the journey for 2020.

But first here is 2019.

January

January 1 and the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission opens its doors to support consumers.

Paul Browne’s LDK Healthcare pays around $70 million for the 220-unit trophy village The Landings in Turramurra (northern suburbs of Sydney), in 50/50 joint venture with the listed Cromwell Property. Sakkara is the seller and leaves the village sector.

Stockland appoints two advisers to search for buyers of their 1.5 billion/65 village/9,000 ILU retirement village business. (No sale eventuated over the year).

The Aged Care Royal Commission received its first submissions from the top 100 aged care providers, with between 20,000 and 30,000 separate cases of substandard care reported. Only 83 of the Top 100 delivered submissions on time.

Bupa’s ninth aged care home sanctioned in 12 months.

HESTA (The Health Employees Superannuation Trust) announces its first investment of $19M in a dementia village through its Social Impact Investment trust with NFP aged care provider Glenview in TAS.

Ozcare, an offshoot of St Vincent DePaul’s, lodges plans for a $200 million vertical village and aged care facility in the inner Brisbane suburb of Newstead – just 500 metres from the new 19-storey Aveo integrated village.

Bolton Clarke buys into the redevelopment of the former Gold Coast hospital site in Southport, planning a 144 ILU/44 assisted living apartments/72 bed vertical development, adding to its already $565 million development pipeline across 16 projects.

Private operator Oryx Communities in WA to build a 120 bed care facility plus 80 place child care centre in Queenslea.

Bupa appoints its chief financial and strategy officer, Hisham el-Ansary as CEO.

Alison Quinn resigns as CEO of RetireAustralia.

Ryman Healthcare named largest residential builder in New Zealand for 2018 with $899 million with projects. Retirement village operators Summerset was placed 5th, Metlifecare 6th, Oceania 9th and Arvida 12th.

New SA village entrant Livewell Communities to build a 133-apartment vertical village ‘resort’ at Findon, 6.5km north of Adelaide, with two more planned over the next five years.

CoreLogic property analyst Tim Lawless predicts that national home prices will decline 18 to 20% from their peak to a new trough in 2020. AMP chief economist Shane Oliver predicts Sydney and Melbourne prices will drop by 25%. (This didn’t happen).

Traditional retirement village and aged care operator, the family-owned TriCare, moves into the land lease market with an application to build a 169 home relocatable home park at Rochedale, 17 km south-east of Brisbane. They also plan a 250 ILU retirement village and 200 bed RAC on the same site.

Aged Care Workforce Industry Council established with John Pollaers as its chair.

A 35-year-old male aged care worker is jailed for four months for hitting an 82-year-old dementia resident with his shoe. (Under appeal in February the worker had his sentence changed to an eight months intensive correction order which included community service – the judge says the worker was a victim of the system – ‘he was doing a two person job at least’).

Private village operator Greengate partners with the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Auchenflower (3K west of Brisbane) to build 92 independent living and aged care suites.

February

Townsville’s 15 retirement villages and 16 aged care facilities hit with a record rainfall of 1012mm in six days.

Aged Care Royal Commission public hearings commence 11 February.

Revealed for the first time, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency made no unannounced visits outside business hours in the previous year while only 10 began on a weekend or public holiday.

Churches of Christ Queensland opens the state’s first ‘open’ community offering community care and community facilities to both residents and the local ‘community’.

Bethanie WA announces it will build ‘affordable cottages’ on the same campus as its existing retirement village in Eaton, 180 K south of Perth. They are priced at $290,000.

SQM Research reports that the number of homes listed for sale in Melbourne jumped 42% in December 2018 compared to December 2017; Sydney listings were up 22%. The Master Builders Association states housing approvals were down 23.7% and apartments 40.1% in the final three months of 2018.

Oak Tree Group opens its 25th village in Mudgee.

COTA Australia CEO, Ian Yates, kicks off the first witness day of the Royal Commission stating, “the aged care system, along with prisons, are the only institutions we have left”. “The power imbalance between consumers and providers (of home care) is profound”. “Funds should be allocated so good providers can expand and poor providers (will) face regulatory and financial pressure (and won’t survive)”.

LASA was chasing $1.47 billion from the Federal Government and one $320 million for residential aged care and $280 million to fund 10,000 new home care packages.

Canberra identified as having the longest waitlist for residential aged care – 301 days.

37% of Australia’s aged care workers now come from overseas.

Australia’s first Indian specific aged care facility announce by MiCare in Melbourne; a five-storey 108 bed project at Noble Park.

Private operator Arcare opens a $47 million luxury aged care home on the old Springwood Bowls club site.

NSW Government floats a 42-day limit on general services fees being charged after someone leaves the village plus six-month mandated buybacks for metropolitan villages and 12 months for regional villages (for capital gain sharing contracts).

WA’s Masonic Care CEO, M-L MacDonald, elected president of the Retirement Living Council.

The QLD government adds strata villages to its mandated 18-month buyback rule.

Canada’s Brookfield is first rumoured to be looking at Aveo to purchase. (It succeeded in November).

Anglicare (Sydney) announces it will expand its Woolooware village by 185 units and a 48-bed RAC.

The last council to operate aged care homes in Victoria, Glen Eira Council (Melbourne), announces it will sell its three locations. (This failed and they were withdrawn in December).

The Australian Financial Review announces that Brookfield has dropped out of the bid process to buy Aveo, naming loan staff funds (from Texas) and Cerberus Capital (from New York) were in the race. (Brookfield ended up being the only major contender).

Phil Usher return to the retirement village and private aged sector, launching Odyssey Private Aged Care, backed by SunSuper. His first project is 148 apartments at Robina (on the Gold Coast).

Anglicare (Sydney) announces a $158 million development near Campbelltown – a 315-unit village, 100 bed RAC and 32 attached villas.

RetireAustralia unveils details on its 145-unit village plus 32 care suites on the Burleigh Golf club site.

Lendlease half-year results reveal its retirement resales are up 24% compared to the same half last year.

Ross Johnson, the driving force behind the establishment of the Aged Care Guild, announces his departure as CEO of Regis Aged Care. Regis also announces bed occupancy down to 92.8% and earnings down 7%.

March

The Australian Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme (ARVAS) Standards are announced jointly by the Property Council and LASA; it will be operated by Quality Innovation Performance and to be officially launched in June.

QLD‘s Bolton Clarke announces its 144-bed facility in southwest Sydney adjacent to Stockland’s Willowdale retirement village, its third in NSW.

Aveo is approved for its $150M Newmarket redevelopment, with 255 new homes. It was the subject of heavy negative media when first proposed in 2017.

Federal Government announces $7.4M / 62 location test for the new aged care System Navigator project, led by COTA.

Ex early exec of RetireAustralia, Glen Brown, announces his new retirement village vehicle Reside Communities and two acquisitions, backed by Brisbane’s Greenfort Capital and Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital Partners.

Melbourne developer Steller announces a $430M investment across four retirement villages on the Mornington Peninsula, delivering 1,300 homes and 400 aged care beds. (In June they go into receivership).

Listed rental village operator Eureka returns to the black.

The Federal Government announces its largest ACAR bed release ever with 13,500 beds pumping an additional $907M each year into operator funds.

The Padman family return to aged care with Premier Health Care with investments of $130M across SA and QLD.

StewartBrown’s half year report on the aged care sector states 42.3% of aged care homes recorded a negative EBT and 19.5% traded at a straight loss, while home care operators had a 6% average revenue drop.

Bupa pays $157M to the ATO to settle tax minimisation claims.

LASA launches its ‘I care about aged care’ campaign ahead of the Federal Election.

The ABC increased its call for workers to tell them what it is like to work in aged care.

AEH sells its Camden village (west of Sydney) site to Paul Singer’s HT Group after working on it since 2007 for a retirement village site.

LLC operator Lifestyle Communities acquired its 18th site, an hour south of Melbourne.

The Royal Commissioners become frustrated with Department of Health witnesses – inferring they were avoiding answering questions.

PresCare to develop a $30M/140 bed aged care facility in Townsville.

NewDirection Care founder Natasha Chadwick wins QLD Telstra Woman of the Year. (She went on to win the Australian award as well).

April

Millie Phillips places her 350 ILU/7 village portfolio on the market plus her two RACs.

QLD land lease community operator Halcyon wins a national UDIA Seniors Living award.

Community NFP village operator Bushland Health gets approval to build a six-level village in regional Taree.

Southern Cross Care NSW announces a $24M 100 bed RAC for Campbelltown, southwest of Sydney. (They share this destination with a number of other operators this year to date).

Ian Yates and COTA call for $1.25B funding for home care.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers give up on their Aveo class action.

The QLD Government settles on 18-month buybacks for retirement village units. (The first buybacks are due 1 July and over 100 must be paid out on Day 1).

NZ’s Ryman Healthcare opens its second Australian village in Melbourne, targeting 300 residents. (By November, they have 13 sites in Melbourne).

Sanctuary Cove residents vote to allow a retirement village in their gated community.

Catholic Healthcare has fight with residents over a proposed 12-storey seniors living development at Lewisham in Sydney’s Inner West.

Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI) buys the Maitland Benevolent Society residential and home care business that needed financial assistance.

WA family owned Hall & Prior to build a three-storey RAC in Penshurst (Sydney), their 24th operation.

Industry veteran Graeme Croft’s Signature Care to build a 144 bed RAC in regional Goulburn, southwest from Sydney.

Anglicare CEO Grant Millard announces they have $1.2B in development across Greater Sydney over four years.

120 village managers attend the first VILLAGE SUMMIT in Sydney, staged by the DCM Institute.

The Fin Review says Brookfield and one other are given Preferred Bidder status to go through Aveo’s books to prepare a formal bid. Interest in Stockland not so certain.

Australia first trial of CCTV begins in SA with $500K in Federal Government funding, appointing the UK’s Care Protect. (In November the trial was cancelled and another partner sought).

Catholic Healthcare given the green light to build a 144 bed RAC in Casula, southwest of Sydney.

Three years after commencing its applications to build an 800-apartment village and 160 bed care facility, the Blacktown Workers Sports Club has been knocked back again.

We launch the DCM Institute Village Management Professional Development Program. (By year end over 310 village managers have signed up).

Bupa is taken to task by the ACCC for overcharging residents at 21 of its 78 aged care homes, failing to ‘fully provide’ services promised. Bupa now has 11 homes sanctioned.

New village entrant, NFP home care operator Burnie Brae, to build a 38-unit midrise village in Brisbane.

The NSW Government now doing ‘spot checks’ of retirement villages and compliance with increasing regulations designed to ‘reform the sector’.

Two 12 level aged care homes to be built in a 2,400-home brownfield site, the brickworks at Beckenham, 13km southeast of Perth.

Dr Shane Moran’s Provectus Care opens a 57-bed aged care facility in Shanghai. It is part of a joint venture with China’s largest developer, Greenland Hong Kong.

Villa Maria Catholic Homes rebrands as VMCH.

LLC and village operator Palm Lake Resorts opens its fifth aged care home at Beachmere, north of Brisbane.

96% of Ingenia’s Stage 1 and 2 in its LLC development at Woolgoolga – 26km north of Coffs Harbour – sold out before opening.

Helping Hand’s Golden Grove 110 bed care facility opens in Adelaide.

South West Rocks Country Club backed LLC Sea Spirit Lifestyle commences building its 199 homes.

IRT backs end of life planning tool ExSitu that assists the development of protective end of life documentation.

May

Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital named by the AFR as looking hard at Aveo. (This turned out to be not the case).

UK care home operator Four Seasons, with 250 homes, collapses into administration. 13,000 residents left wondering.

RSL SA to build a 72-bed facility at Murray Bridge.

Catholic Healthcare seeks approval to build a 104-bed facility in the Norwest area of Sydney.

Sales of spy cameras spike sales on the back of ‘abuse’ reported in the Aged Care Royal Commission.

Kevin Ryan’s 6-star Waterbrook branded village in upmarket Bowral approved for sales process – prices start at $900K to $2M.

Kathryn Greiner asks about retirement villages: “is it a good idea whose idea is over”?

Anglicare, Bupa and Columbia Aged Care management appear before the Royal Commission.

Opal opens a $38M/146 bed aged care home in regional Bathurst.

The NSW Government to appoint Ageing and Disability Commissioner – with same powers as the Royal Commission.

Stockland struggles to get planning approval for the redevelopment of its 50-year-old (Sydney) Castle Ridge village. It is seeking 300 ILUs across nine buildings.

Aveo fast tracks Stage Two of its (Brisbane) Carindale village redevelopment which will deliver 432 new homes.

Dr Linda Mellors is appointed CEO of Regis Aged Care. She came across from Mercy Health.

Derek McMillan launches retirement village operator Centennial Living, backed by Melbourne real estate fund Qualitas, and purchasing three anchor villages from Stockland for $59M.

MinterEllison processes over 100 buybacks of village units in QLD on the first day of the activation of the new regulations – $30M paid out by operators.

Scott Morrison single-handedly wins the Federal Election.

RetireAustralia appoints former Bank of Queensland CEO Brett Robinson – as CEO.

Ex Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy creates Principal Living to partner Newcastle Golf Club to build a 144 ILU village. Principal plans three more villages in the Hunter.

Richard Colbeck appointed Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians – and Youth and Sport, taking over from Ken Wyatt.

Centuria Capital buys a controlling stake in aged care funder Heathley for $24.4M.

Peer to Peer home care disrupter Mable (previously Better Caring) is reported to be raising a further $15M in funding.

June

Australian Unity announces it will scale down its NDIS business just four years after it purchased the NSW Government’s home and disability business for $114M. It wants to strengthen its aged care at home business.

Village Retirement Group threatens to call in lawyers against protestors against its redevelopment of the North Lakes Golf Club as a retirement village, over ‘defamatory remarks’.

WA’s Lester Group begins construction on its first land lease community, in Bunbury. The target is 186 homes.

Bayline Homes submits plans for a 292 home LLC outside of Taree on the mid North NSW Coast.

ACQSC announce increase in ‘out of hours’ and unannounced care home audit visits, stung by the report of none in 2017-18.

Opal Aged Care commences construction of a $31M / 120 bed facility in Treeby, 25km south of Perth.

The Fair Work Commission announces a 3% national wage increase; LASA points out aged care support by Government only increases by 1.5% each year.

VIC property developer Steller starts laying of staff (76) while struggling with debt. Village developments put on hold.

LLC operator GemLife moves ahead with a 172-home development of Kyneton Golf Club, 89km north of Melbourne.

Scott Morrison states that aged care is one of the Government’s Top 3 major priorities.

Regis Aged Care occupancy drops 1.2% in six months to 91.6%.

Three SA Government aged care homes are either found non-compliant or have been sanctioned.

Nicola Roxon steps down as Chair of Bupa.

MyAgedCare has another $63M spent on it to make it more user friendly.

VIC private operator TLC Healthcare expands into integrated aged care, with 10 community medical centres across its 11 sites in Melbourne, with childcare and primary care added to its Mordialloc site.

Sydney’s Italian aged care provider Scalabrini closes the doors on their Drummoyne waterfront 60-year-old aged care facility after redevelopment options are ruled out.

Thomson Healthcare applies to build a 123 bed/4 level facility backing onto Pymble golf course (Sydney); local subject to the demolition of three houses to free the block.

Former Aged Care Quality Agency CEO Nick Ryan appointed CEO of QLD Lutheran Services.

Opal begins construction on a 125 bed/$37 million in Toukley (100km north of Sydney) – its fifth Central Coast facility.

The Four Corners ABC investigation into retirement villages marks its two-year anniversary this month. Retirement village sales across the sector have not recovered and a new wave of regulations has placed great strain on business models.

Aveo reveals a profit collapse against challenging sales – $50 million compared to $127 million in 2018.

Brookfield is narrowed as the potential buyer for Aveo.

Private aged care within a retirement village entrepreneur Phil Usher adds long-term NDIS accommodation to his Odyssey Robina development – 18 new high physical support apartments.

Presbyterian Aged Care NSW’s $180 million village and care facility in Paddington completes construction with close to 95% presales.

Living Choice commences construction of South Australia’s first integrated course retirement community at Flagstaff Hill, a four-level development.

Japara, Bupa and Southern Cross Care WA under the spotlight in the Royal Commission.

July

Sean Howard’s Arton Group applies for an increase in the scale of its Brickwork Park Village development, 10km west of Newcastle to eight buildings each four storeys high and delivering 223 village units, valued at $103 million.

Pace Development Group announces it is building its first village, an 83-unit vertical village of seven storeys in Monash, 23km east of Melbourne.

The new Aged Care Quality Standards commence.

Catholic Healthcare settles on three new aged care development sites as part of its Lendlease partnership – two in VIC and one in NSW delivering 406 beds.

Arcare secures 6,000 m² of land at seven Hills, 8km east of Brisbane, to build a 107-bed facility, taking them to 15 in QLD.

Private home care leader, KinCare, with 9,500 clients, is reported to be struggling to find a potential buyer against the backdrop of the Royal Commission.

The national home care queue passes 129,000, with 14 new people a day joining the waitlist.

Brookfield identified as the last man standing in the bid for Aveo.

Ingenia acquires Eighth Gate Capital Management, consisting of six unlisted investment funds with $140 million in assets under management, made up of 10 land lease communities. They get 759 permanent homes and 844 holiday sites – and a funds management platform.

Melbourne development Steller falls into receivership, ending its quest to build four land lease communities.

Privately owned Thomson Healthcare, with 12 aged care homes, opens its first retirement village in Frederickton, 57km north of Port Macquarie.

INXS manager Chris Murphy announces plans for a retirement village in Ballina, south of Byron Bay.

Seasons Private Aged Care owner, residential development Phil Usher, pays $6.6 million for the John Flynn Hospital on the Gold Coast.

Two months after the election, residential property confidence returns, reversing a year of decline.

The Aged Care Financial Authority (ACFA) released its 2017/18 report, reporting expenses for residential care providers increased by 5.3% while their income increased by only by 1.7%.

UnitingSA commences construction on its $50 million Adelaide aged care facility, delivering 142 beds.

Infinite Care, backed by investment bank Moelis (who have also invested in KinCare) opens its third Far North QLD aged care facility in 18 months, 182 beds in Cairns.

Occupancy at Bupa Eden (390km south of Wollongong) drops to 68% after sanctions extended.

With shades of Oakden, nurses at Blacktown Hospital (NSW) threaten industrial action after six staff are assaulted by patients in its 25-bed specialist aged care unit in three weeks.

70 residents are evacuated from the Earle Haven Retirement Village when staff call ‘000’. The media is flooded with images of the facility manager HelpStreet staff ransacking equipment. (It unfolded that HelpStreet was in dispute with the owner, PeopleCare, over unpaid bills and termination of the contract).

The Australian newspaper reports that Stockland may have two serious buyers for this retirement village portfolio. (This turned out to be false).

Perth’s luxury aged care operator Berrington Care, with two luxury homes, goes into voluntary administration.

Lendlease announces it is building its first retirement village in China – 900 units in Shanghai.

Paul Browne’s LDK Healthcare announces the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will provide $60 million in Federal Government investment to provide 700kW of solar panels on his 380 apartment Canberra village.

New private village development Dukor 24 plans to build 41 independent living units in French’s Forest, 19 km north of Sydney, on the site originally pitched in 2010 by legendary developer Sid Londish to build a $580 million retirement village consisting of 20 three- and four-storey buildings.

Aged care boards receive extreme criticism in the Royal Commission, with calls for criminal penalties for board members and staff ‘for allowing harm to occur’.

LASA CEO, Sean Rooney, comes out saying “we must start again” with the aged care system.

NFP community operator Bundaleer to build a $30 million aged care home in Wauchope, 20km west of Port Macquarie.

Ten days after Earle Haven, three separate investigations are launched – state government, federal government, federal police.

ECH in Adelaide has a six-storey retirement village approved for Modbury, consisting of 67 apartments and valued at $42 million.

The aged care sector label ‘neglect’ is used for the first time by Commissioner Lynelle Briggs – to become the title of the Interim Report in October.

A class action is launched with the courts against Estia for breaching continuous market disclosure dating back to 2016.

Search activity by retirement village buyers is down 30% in Queensland and New South Wales, and 7% in Victoria on villages.com.au in 2019 compare to 2018.

Leading WA retirement village marketer Mike Graebner of Seniors First, make an impassioned plea for public education on retirement villages or ‘trust’ will be lost. This follows the collapse of Sterling First, Berrington Care and Earle Haven.

John Ledwis and Les Walden (who were involved in the award winning The Arbour village in Berry) have teamed up to build a 200-home village called Tempo, 134km north of Hobart.

LASA and Grant Thornton team up to engage aged care CEOs in a vision for the sector to submit to the Royal Commission – 110 CEOs participate across five cities and five days.

August

The NSW retirement village buyback discussion paper closes for submissions; proposal is six months for metropolitan villages (including the Central Coast and Wollongong) and 12 months for regional villages.

The DCM Institute membership passes 150 village managers signed up since April.

The Royal Commission slams the Department of Health and the Government: they have been tardy in implementing previous recommendations, have no sense of urgency, and by implication are not concerned about the welfare of residents.

It comes out that 71% of Earle Haven residents were chemically restrained.

A 12th Bupa aged care home is sanctioned – Campbelltown in South Australia. It failed 22 of 44 standards.

Chinese home care AI business Lanchuang Network Technology has 220,000 elderly clients across 16 cities in just four months, charging $0.15 a day.

The Aveo board unanimously accept the offer of $1.27 billion for 100% purchase of the company by the Canadian investment fund Brookfield, which is the largest property group in the world. Mum and dad investors, plus due diligence to be completed by November.

LLC operator GemLife, a joint venture between Living Gems and Singapore’s Thakral Capital, invest heavily in marketing its new Sunshine Coast development Pacific Paradise, priced from $585K.

Reside Communities announces plans for 348 vertical apartments for retirees on the former 3.4 ha village square waterfront market site on Hope Island.

Regis Aged Care is approved for a 147-bed aged care facility on the Gold Coast after reducing its height from 11 storeys to eight storeys.

The Victorian Government wades into aged care operations by establishing nutrition standards and guidelines and commits to regular ‘food audits’ for public aged care facilities.

Kathryn Greiner tells retirement village executive audience: “What I see (in retirement villages) when things go wrong and the message goes up, there is nobody home”. She went on to say: “If you haven’t got it through your thick heads it’s too late because people have alternatives”. She was referring to apartments.

NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner, Robert Fitzgerald AM, warns retirement village operators they will be held responsible for elder abuse in their villages. He said: “You show us we can trust you” and promised village audits.

SA’s Life Care is approved for a seven-storey retirement village in Joslin, comprising 41 units. It had been knocked back in 2017.

Estia delivers an 11% operating profit plus 24/7 registered nurses across its 69 facilities. Average occupancy was 93.6%. Over 12 months they had had 101 accreditation reviews.

September

Retirement village group Settlers Lifestyle, with 687 homes across five villages, placed in receivership with the QLD buybacks partly blamed. The group is owned by Singapore domiciled investment fund Forum Partners. It had bought the villages in 2016 for $55 million from Ingenia.

IRT commences construction on its Henry Brooks estate near Wollongong, a 90 ILU horizontal village.

KTQ Developments led by Drew Steptoe will build a seven-storey retirement village with 93 homes plus a five story 100 bed aged care facility in its master planned ‘Orion on Rowe’ development in Caboolture (QLD).

Aged Care Minister Sen Richard Colbeck tells the Health Metrics conference audience in Melbourne “We need to make very brave political decisions and make them early in the process”, referring to the Royal Commission.

Ansell Strategic identifies that the top 25 of Not-For-Profit aged care operators make more ‘net surplus’ than the listed companies Regis, Estia and Japara.

WA NFP, Curtin Heritage Living, submits plans for a $100 million retirement village and aged care facility overlooking Cottesloe Beach. Five storeys high, it will have 77 apartments and 129 beds.

Aveo announces a statutory loss for FY18 of $213 million on the back of a revaluation of its portfolio.

Aveo also reveals that it is averaging 210 leads every week, 80 inspections and 23 written contracts – being refundable deposits. However it is being impacted by buyers who can’t sell their homes quickly for a satisfactory price.

Ryman Healthcare snaps up failed developer Steller’s aged care site in the Melbourne suburb of Highett for $28 million, giving them 11 sites purchased in five years. (By November they are at 13 sites).

Tim Russell and Mark Taylor’s Aura Holdings gets DA approval on their sixth village, a 10 storey/68 apartment at North Kirra, 30km south of Surfers Paradise.

Linear Properties applies for a PDA for a 145-unit retirement village plus aged care facility at Mango Hill, north of Brisbane.

The Estia class action moves forward with Litigation Lending agreeing to fund shareholders in their action.

The QLD Government legislates aged care operators to detail staff ratios; they can opt out but will be ‘named and shamed’ by the government.

LASA survey identifies that 41% of 170 aged care operator members are likely to reduce direct care staff because of financial pressures.

Bupa CEO Hisham El-Ansary appears on the ABC’s 7.30 Report and apologises ‘unreservedly’ for incidents of poor care in some of its 72 homes – but denies cutting back on staff.

Shane Moran launches his second luxury retirement village in Wahroonga, 22km north of Sydney CBD. 34 homes will be priced from $1.2 million to $3.4 million and subject to DMFs.

The Royal Commission is extended for six months, with the final report now due 12 November 2020.

Retired Federal Court Judge The Hon Gaetano (Tony) Pagone QC is appointed the third Royal Commissioner.

At the same time the cost of the Royal Commission for operators is trending to $100 million, based on Japara already spending $1.8 million and Estia $1.7 million.

TriCare edges forward with its Taringa three-building high-rise aged care centre, 5 km south-west of the Brisbane CBD. Originally it sought three towers of eight, 12 and 16 stories but after 800 resident submissions, the largest building was reduced to seven storeys.

ABC TV’s ‘Old People’s Home For Four-Year-Olds’, set in RSL LifeCare’s ANZAC village (Sydney) is a big hit.

NZ’s Summerset buys an 8-ha site in Cranbourne North, 39km southeast of the Melbourne CBD, its first village in Australia.

Listed property group Soul Pattinson launches into retirement villages, talking about 12 NSW villages in alone. They later partner with Shane Moran.

Ingenia announces a new $55 million development in East Burpengary, 45km north of Brisbane, on 5ha to deliver 131 land lease community homes.

Earle Haven owner, Arthur Miller, announces he is fed up with aged care and won’t run facilities anymore.

The Federal Government provides an extra $150 million over the next three years for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). This will impact 18,000 older Australians, each receiving approximately $2,800.

October

ASIC and courts approve the sale of Aveo to Brookfield, who then borrow $1 billion from banks for the purchase.

ARVAS, the new retirement village accreditation scheme opens for business.

Private developer Pesdev approved to build a 400 unit over 55’s resort across 10 medium rise buildings at Albini Creek, 20km north of Brisbane.

Private SA village operator Karidis is approved to add 48 serviced apartments and 14 standard apartments to its Bay Waters village.

Club Willoughby, an RSL club 6km north of Sydney CBD, plans a $95 million five-storey medium rise retirement village including 106 ILUs and a 49 bed RAC.

‘Aged care’ gets off lightly on ABC’s Q&A with LASA CEO Sean Rooney fronting to defend the sector and the Minister for Ageing, Richard Colbeck revealing that ‘to his mind 30 to 60 days should be the maximum period of waiting’ for home care, with the NDIS model as his preference.

Commissioner Lynelle Briggs asks at the Launceston community forum for the first time: “Why is this cruel system so unkind?” She went on to “We need to reimagine the industry”.

The Victorian Government announces it will build a new 120 bed aged care home valued at $81.6 million in suburban Wantirna.

Newcastle ex-mayor Jeff McCloy won approval for an additional 47 homes to be added to the 99 at his Heritage Parc retirement village.

A local Bundaberg family plans to build a 19.5ha land lease community plus a retirement village at Elliott Head, 20km east of Bundaberg.

On 11 October the Aged Care Commissioner Richard Tracey AM RFM QC passed away aged 71 in California while receiving treatment for cancer.

The Royal Commission releases its first Research Paper. It identified that 57.6% of Australian aged care homes are ‘unacceptable’ under US standards and Australian residents receive an average of 180 minutes of staff time per day which would deliver only one star (out of five) in the US rating system.

Earle Haven owner, Arthur Miller, reveals his aged care licence had been revoked, costing him $1 million.

Ingenia goes to the market to raise $131 million and is five times oversubscribed in one day, giving the 10-year-old company a value of $1B+.

The DCM Institute idea to deliver regional meetings for retirement village managers across the country is successful with 10 Regional Meets in October/November.

StewartBrown’s aged care financial performance survey identifies that listed RAC operators invest 5% more of their turnover on staff than the top 25% of Not For Profit operators.

Provectus Care CEO Dr Shane Moran is picked by Soul Pattinson as the partner of the $5 billion investment fund to roll out ‘dozens of high-end retirement villages Australia wide’, with the first $40 million village in Cronulla, 31km south of Sydney.

Bolton Clarke files a DA for a two-tower retirement living and aged care project on the old Gold Coast hospital site, delivering 146 ILUs, 40 assisted-living and 72 residential aged care beds.

Lendlease to build a $270 million retirement development on Brisbane’s Ascot racetrack, 7km northeast of the CBD.

A Western Sydney family plan to turn their wholesale nursery into a $75 million retirement village and aged care development at Bossley Park – 100 ILU’s and 144 RAC beds planned.

Uniting to build 50 seniors’ apartments in Yamba, on the Far NSW North Coast.

HESTA announces it will invest $200 million in health care and aged care real estate.

On the NSW Central Coast, Allity closes its Henry Kendall retirement village aged care home, requiring 69 residents to be moved, claiming the building was not fit for refurbishment up to the new standards required. At the same time Astoria Group close one of its three co-located aged care homes simply said “we just don’t have the resources” to deliver to the new Quality Standards, the Royal Commission, staff education and resources required.

November

“A shocking tale of neglect” is the assessment of the Royal Commission’s Interim Report into aged care quality and safety. “It is a sad and shocking system that diminishes Australia as a nation”, wrote the Commissioners. Three areas were identified for immediate action: home care package waiting lists, overreliance on chemical restraints and younger people in aged care homes.

The Victorian Government releases its retirement village discussion paper.

SA’s Life Care restarts its Golden Grove retirement village development – $60 million investment for 38 apartments, 42 assisted-living and 46 independent living units.

QLD private aged care operator Seasons will add 95 apartments to its Mango Hill village.

CoreLogic announces a 1.2% recovery national dwelling values in October alone, the fourth consecutive month of rising values. Sydney and Melbourne prices surge 2.3%.

Whiddon Groups opens stage one (80 single bedrooms) of its Redhead aged care home at an investment of $38 million.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission audited 266 residential care homes (10% of all sites) in the three months from April to June, with 21.4% of sites not meeting new standards (57 locations).

LLC operator Hometown decides to sell 11 of its 58 locations 13 months after purchasing Gateway Communities, with expectations of raising $110 million.

90-year-old Millie Phillips’ Milstern retirement Village group sale is caught up in court proceedings, in a battle with her children.

The five Settlers Lifestyle villages in receivership have not found a buyer individually and are now to be sold in one line.

SA’s Life Care is pushing ahead with another stalled project, the five-storey aged care complex in Everard Park.

Opal opens its $33 million premium aged care home in Parramatta, part of their $300 million expanded footprint in Western Sydney.

Geoff Grady resigned as CEO of Aveo, two weeks before Brookfield takes effective ownership.

10 QLD freehold retirement villages identified as in jeopardy with resident owners forced to buy back units under new regulations.

QLD’s Aura Holdings sells out 70% of its nine level/68 apartment village at North Kirra before construction commences.

Stockland lodges plans for its first land lease community – 273 homes in Burdell, 15km northwest of Townsville.

Southern Cross Care TAS and Bupa case studies at the Royal Commission reveals care is financially focused (on remaining viable). Counsel assisting Mr Rozen stated “financial viability is a means to an end in aged care; it is not an end in itself”.

IRT, the NSW/QLD NFP, celebrates breaking even given the financial pressures around Government funding, with an annual income of $204 million and assets of $1.42 billion.

Sean Rooney, CEO of LASA, calls for a structured exit path for 197 residential aged care providers facing financial collapse. “The scale of this risk is alarming”, he says. “We can’t just keep putting money into the system if the system is broken”.

The Royal Commission continues to have a significant impact on staff and leadership, with one senior executive describing it as “a life’s work for nothing”.

The PwC/RLC Census reports that out of 571 retirement villages 42% had lower unit sales in FY19 compared to FY18, and average vacancies/selling days had increased to 258.

RLC President M-L MacDonald urges all retirement village operators to take up the RLC/LASA voluntary Code of Conduct, which comes into effect 1 January. “Take them up or be disrupted”.

NZ village operator Ryman Healthcare announces a NZ$103M half year profit with total assets of $7.6 billion spread across 34 villages. After just five years in operation, NZ listed village operator Arvida announces a $45 million half year profit from 17 villages, a 47% increase.

Retirement village Living Choice owners make their first move into land lease communities with a land purchase at Avoca Beach, 16km east of Gosford (NSW).

Ryman announces its 11th village in five years in Melbourne – planning a $180 million investment at Highett, 15 km southeast of Melbourne CBD.

The Prime Minister pledges $537 million in response to the Royal Commission Interim Report, including $496 million for an additional 10,000 home care packages and the balance covering chemical restraint and young people in aged care.

The Government announces 25,000 new regional Australia visas for immigrants willing to commit for three years employment, including the aged care category.

Estia announces plans for a new 109 bed aged care home in West Wollongong.

December

CoreLogic makes another announcement that national home prices are rebounding at record rates but in fact prices need to rise another 10% to get back to 2017 levels.

Further analysis of the PwC/RLC Census reveals that across 56 operators, representing 70,000 village homes, they expect to build just 1,063 new homes over the next 12 months, down from 2,280 they predicted for the same period a year before. The sector needs 5,500 new homes built a year to maintain the penetration at 5% for people aged 65+.

Stuart Nicolson named CEO of Japara Retirement.

LLC operator Lifestyle Communities acquires its second site of the Bellarine Peninsula, taking them to 18 locations in and around Melbourne.

RetireAustralia continues its recent strategy to develop substantial assisted living apartments co=-located with their mature retirement villages, they announce 54 are to be built at Tarragal Glen on the NSW Central Coast.

Bethany Christian Care is approved to develop a 200-unit retirement village and 100 bed aged care home in Ipswich, 35km west of Brisbane.

Residential aged care occupancy dips below 90% for the first time ever, leaving 22,260 empty beds each day.

The Queensland Government passes its Health Transparency Bill to name and shame aged care providers who don’t disclose staffing ratios. The Government commits to 3.65 hours per day personal care per resident for its own facilities.

Expanding HammondCare to build its first facility in SA – 78 beds in the Adelaide Repat Health Precinct.

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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.