A lucky break in tough times

With the support of the local council and state government, a Tasmanian operator has started building a new $46 million independent retirement living and aged care complex in Hobart.

Above: The site of Southern Cross Care’s new retirement living complex, Fairway Rise, in Rosny on Hobart’s Eastern Shore.

By Stephen Easton

Despite tough times in the aged care industry and in the wider economy, work has begun on a new retirement living complex in Tasmania that will incorporate three different modes of living on the one site.

The $46 million Fairway Rise project will include 76 independent living units, 16 one-bedroom apartments and a 60-bed residential aged care facility, built on a special parcel of land in the Hobart suburb of Rosny, purchased from the Tasmanian Government by Southern Cross Care (SCC).

SCC’s chief executive, Richard Sadek, said the care organisation submitted an expression of interest to the local council and were successful in acquiring two parcels of land totalling nine hectares “on very good terms” to build the new facility.

“The price was reasonable and the terms associated with payment were very reasonable as well,” Mr Sadek said. “And thirdly, because of the age profile of the Eastern Shore … the submission we put forward was given very high regard by the Council.” 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the median age in the suburb of Rosny is 53 compared with 39 for Australia overall, and 31.5 per cent of people in Rosny are aged over 65, compared with less than 14 per cent of the entire Australian population.

SCC has all the bed licenses it requires to operate the aged care facility, and a zero real-interest loan from the federal Department of Health Ageing has been approved to help pay for the construction.

“We’ve also got a reasonably large number of community aged care packages, for a Tasmanian provider, so we can help people in the community as their needs arise,” Mr Sadek said. He added that residents of the independent living units and apartments would be able to ‘age in place’ and receive aged care services in their homes.

The SCC chief said the local and state governments had seen the new complex as “a very worthy project from which the community could benefit”, and had also offered generous terms because it would create a large number of jobs, through its construction and its ongoing operations, against the background of an economic slowdown both in Tasmania and nationally.

Above, L-R: The Mayor of Clarence, Alderman Doug Chipman, and Ray Groom, chair of the board of Southern Cross Care.

Mr Sadek said that without the generous terms of sale from Clarence City Council, the organisation would have “found it very difficult to proceed at this time” with the building project.

“It is very tough times within the economy generally, but it is also tough within aged care, given the recent announcement by the government to cut back on ACFI,” he said.

“That will place some financial pressure on [aged care] organisations, as I see it, and we’re just estimating what the impact of that will be on our organisation, because it will have an impact.”

The former golf course was rezoned this year by Clarence City Council after a process in which the Tasmanian Government published a master plan for the site and requested input from the local community.

The state government’s master plan outlined its commitment to “the creation of affordable, safe, well-designed, environmentally sustainable and socially-connected housing”, according to a statement from the Tasmanian premier, Lara Giddings.

The new development represents the achievement of a long-held goal for SCC, according to Ray Groom, the chair of the non-profit community and residential aged care provider’s board.

Mr Groom said in a statement that the new village would be built among “attractive, beautiful gardens” in a “vibrant, attractive and progressive part of Tasmania”.

“The village will be in an excellent location, in close proximity to shops, medical services, the Rosny library, a cinema complex, tennis and bowls clubs, a golf course, restaurants and hotels,” Mr Groom said. “For the sports-minded, it is also very close the Bellerive Oval where international cricket and AFL football is played.”

The 16 one-bedroom apartments will be built underneath part of the aged care facility, and the complex will also feature a ‘clubhouse’ for all residents to relax and socialise.

[Correction, 4 July, 1:15pm: This story originally reported that about 70 per cent of the population in the Eastern Shore area of Hobart are aged over 75. This is not correct.]

Tags: ageing-in-place, building, development, retirement-living, tasmania,

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