The national forum on housing for older Australians in Canberra has helped draw discussion from government on critical seniors housing issues affecting aged care providers.

The alliance behind the forum – which includes Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), COTA and the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) – said it was pleased with the constructive input from the Commonwealth Housing Minister, Tanya Plibersek.

“There was certainly some acknowledgement that if rental stock becomes unavailable that is a problem,” said ACSA CEO, Greg Mundy.

“There was also some acknowledgement that if [aged care providers] are in a position where they would be forced to close their ILUs [independent living units], the rental subsidy scheme might be able to assist with upgrades.”

The government will provide funding to facilitate a number of regional projects under the National rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) and Ms Plibersek indicated that there may also be provisions for aged care industry-specific projects.

“It was very pleasing that there was not only a rhetorical acknowledgement but talk about a bit of resourcing as well, which is always welcome,” said Mr Mundy.

Alliance members also said they were pleased with the coverage that the event had received.

“The issue has had wide national publicity and I think the forum was very useful in highlighting this and getting the issue on the national agenda,” said Gerry Naughtin from the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

“It has demonstrated the strength of the partnership between the three national organisations, working together on an issue of mutual concern.”

The three alliance partners will be meeting next week to reflect on the conference outcomes and plan future strategies.

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