In 2016, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and the Brisbane City Council released planning incentives for retirement living and aged care facilities. These new incentives were meant to attract more developers to build facilities in inner suburbs. Since the release of the incentives, units for approval have significantly increased from the previous annual average of less than 1,000 units to more than 2,000 units this year. On top of this, 10 developments with more than 1,500 units and beds are being assessed. In Taringa, a new application for an aged care facility in the area reflects this trend.

Developer TriCare has submitted their third aged care facility application since the introduction of the incentives. They plan to build a facility at Seven Oaks Street in Taringa that houses 376 beds and units in a nine to 16-storey building.

Photo credit: Brisbane Development

A former Taringa resident, Joy Markwell, used to live in her home alone. Her property was surrounded by trees that are 60-feet high. Her children were concerned so they made her move to a retirement village, one of Aveo Group’s luxury retirement village, The Clayfield. Ms Markwell said that she had a difficult time adjusting because she had to leave years of routines and memories. Still, she managed to pull through. She has now created a new routine and established new relationships.

The council’s effort to promote incentives to developers will reduce the stress and the hassle that senior residents have to go through when they are forced to leave their homes to get proper care. City Planning boss Julian Simmonds also said that these incentives were needed due to the urgent need for new aged care facilities in Brisbane.

However, not all residents are happy with the growth of aged care facilities in inner-city suburbs. Many residents are worried about the height, scale, and traffic that these proposed developments will bring.

On the other hand, developers are pleased with the new incentives. Three of the 19 approved developments have applied for the 33% subsidy on infrastructure charges that is part of the incentives package. Aside from the subsidy, the incentives package also includes:

  • Guaranteed 90-day application cycle from submission to decision, including free pre-lodgement advice. The Council has assigned a dedicated team to process new applications for seniors housing;
  • Co-location of aged care and retirement facilities on land previously zoned for sports and recreation;
  • Lower assessment level for applications in low-density and low-medium density residential zones, specialised centre zones, and community facilities areas;
  • Increase of allowable building heights (up to two storeys higher) for select zones, subject to code assessments;
  • Allowed integration of small-scale retail, commercial, and community uses, subject to code assessments, for establishments such as food outlets or childcare facilities;
  • Existing retirement facilities can also easily apply for change of use as an aged care facility, or vice versa, as part of the incentives package.

Seniors, on the other hand, don’t have to move to faraway places to get their much-needed care. “Projections show that our city will require an annual increase of 3,600 to accommodate our ageing population,” Cr Simmonds said. The increase in developer applications is a good start towards helping to alleviate the facilities gap.