Brisbane Council faces backlash

Brisbane Council faces backlash over incentives to solve impending seniors’ housing crisis

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk revealed the plan to boost the number of retirement village and aged care homes (nursing homes) in the Brisbane area this week.

The package includes cutting infrastructure charges for aged care units by 33% for three years. That’s a big decrease, from $8,000 down to $5,300.

Its Labor opposition has slammed the changes though. Why?

Opposition leader Peter Cumming says the money will be lining developers’ pockets, rather than helping the elderly.

“They don’t tend to translate into more affordable property, despite the fact that developers often cite infrastructure charges as one of the reasons property prices are so high,” he said.

However, Cr Quirk has plenty of evidence to support the scheme.

Just 49 retirement and aged care developments were approved from 2010 to 2015 with a total of 5,159 beds.

That’s less than 1,000 a year, much lower than the annual increase of 3,600 beds that are predicted to be needed.

The Lord Mayor says the decrease will promote development.

The Council’s plan also includes:

  • Permitting an extra two storeys in medium- and high-density locations
  • Weighing up plans for privately-owned sport and recreation areas, if there is a community benefit provided
  • Altering the 2014 City Plan with a new streamlined code for assessing developments

Chris Mountford, Executive Director of the Property Council Queensland, says without changes like these, the country will face a crisis in senior’s housing.

“We don't want a city where our older people have to move out of their neighbourhoods and away from their families and friends to find accommodation that supports healthy ageing and independent living,” he said.

ThomsonAdsett Group Director of Seniors Living Ann-Maree Ruffles agreed that it was important to ensure these communities were in great locations.

“There are clear benefits to keeping seniors integrated within their communities,” she said.

Similar projects created by Brisbane Council to encourage new hotels and student accommodation have worked to increase development. Clearly they are hoping for the same result again.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.