A mat­ter of time

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - OPINION -

RE­SEARCH by the Prop­erty Coun­cil of Aus­tralia last year found Aus­tralia would face a se­niors hous­ing cri­sis with­out “ur­gent change” to state and lo­cal plan­ning sys­tems to en­able the de­vel­op­ment of more re­tire­ment vil­lages.

It said that by 2025 the de­mand for re­tire­ment liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion for peo­ple aged over 65 years is ex­pected to dou­ble. But at the cur­rent rate of de­vel­op­ment there will sim­ply not be enough sup­ply for this seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion.

There is a good case for pro­mot­ing Dou­glas Shire as a se­niors’ re­tire­ment lo­cale. As has al­ready been pointed out in the cur­rent de­bate about a pro­posed re­tire­ment com­mu­nity off Fer­rero Rd in Port Dou­glas, se­niors bring strong eco­nomic ben­e­fits to a com­mu­nity. They bring money and don’t take jobs, they cre­ate them.

And the jobs an­gle is in­ter­est­ing. Any­one with an eye on the fu­ture will note how ro­bots will do many of the jobs now done by peo­ple.

It’s an aw­ful prospect that we can hardly bear to ac­knowl­edge, but un­em­ploy­ment in the fu­ture is likely to be very high. That means com­mu­ni­ties with a large and af­flu­ent se­niors pop­u­la­tion will be com­par­a­tively more sus­tain­able.

They will have made their money in the cur­rent, high em­ploy­ment eco­nomic cli­mate, not the more daunt­ing fu­ture one. Last cen­tury’s dough car­ry­ing over into this one, if you like.

Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil uses the word “sus­tain­abil­ity” a lot. Eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity is ev­ery bit part of that.

There’s good rea­son to think that Aus­tralia’s age­ing de­mo­graphic will see more se­niors de­cid­ing to fi­nally make that seachange that they de­ferred for a while when the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis hit. Baby Boomers – they’re a tidal wave through the na­tional pop­u­la­tion.

We should get our share!

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