Queensland’s population aged 65 and over is accelerating and the demand for retirement living is set to double by 2027. With this large demographic shift comes the need to provide appropriate housing choice and facilities for seniors and to remove any barriers to their delivery.

On 31 August 2016, Brisbane City Council announced several planning policies to encourage more inner suburban retirement village and aged care development in Brisbane.

Those policies include:

  • From 1 September 2016 until 31 December 2019, qualifying development permits for new retirement living or aged care development will be eligible for a 33% reduction in infrastructure charges.
  • A more streamlined approach for those proposing new retirement living or aged care development including:
    • Free pre-lodgement advice;
    • A dedicated assessment manager; and
    • A decision on an application within 90 business days.
  • Progressing draft amendments to Brisbane City Plan 2014 to:
    • Update the strategic framework to emphasise the need for retirement living and aged care accommodation.
    • Create a single Retirement facility and residential care facility code which identifies specific design considerations for such uses and includes provisions for greater building height on larger sites provided building height transitions are applied.
    • Lower the level of assessment to code assessment in various zones including the low density residential zone and the low-medium density residential zone where the development complies with building height outcomes.
    • Increase the allowable code assessable building height by two storeys for residential care facilities and retirement facilities in the medium and high density residential zones.
    • Allow small-scale commercial, retail and community uses (such as childcare, food and drink outlet and shop) in retirement facility and residential care facility developments as code assessable.
    • Identify opportunities for the co-location of retirement facilities and residential care facilities on privately owned sport and recreation zoned land (such as land zoned for bowls clubs and golf courses) if a community benefit is provided.
    • Allow operators to re-purpose existing buildings from a retirement facility to a residential care facility, or vice versa, as self-assessable development.

The incentives seek to facilitate the ability for people to retire and go into aged care in areas they are familiar with, and which have medical and professional services available, thereby avoiding the need to move into facilities located on the outskirts of the city.

Public notification and consultation on the proposed City Plan 2014 amendments is expected in late 2016 to early 2017.

Over recent years Brisbane City Council has adopted similar approaches to encourage the development of hotels and student accommodation within Brisbane. These have proved successful in terms of the number of approvals granted within the first year of their effect. It is hoped that these aged care and retirement living incentives are likewise implemented and embraced to increase the supply of suitable housing for retiring Brisbane residents.