Seniors housing initiative for regional Queensland

Published Wednesday, 24 February, 2016 at 02:16 PM

Deputy Premier, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade and Investment
The Honourable Jackie Trad


Elderly residents could avoid a heartbreaking move away from their home towns and be able to retire locally under a new Palaszczuk Labor Government initiative to build adaptable housing in regional communities.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad said a pilot scheme will target up to four towns in Central West and North West Queensland.

“The Ageing in Place Project is about caring for people as they enter their senior years, it provides suitable housing so that people can stay in their towns, close to friends and family,” Ms Trad said.

“Too often, residents in our more remote or regional towns are confronted with the difficult decision to move to a bigger centre because of a lack of appropriate accommodation.”

“Economic Development Queensland will shortly engage with local governments, the development sector and community organisations to identify candidate towns to pilot the initiative.”

“Already, early discussions with Barcaldine, Winton, Longreach and Cloncurry for example have confirmed strong interest in this exciting project”.

The strategy includes building one and two bedroom low set duplex and villa homes featuring wider hallways and doorways to accommodate wheelchairs.

The design includes kitchen benches set at different heights, reinforced bathrooms for the inclusion of handrails and accessibility equipment, and personal safety switches.

The safety switches will provide immediate assistance and allow care and support services to be provided in the home, delaying the need for aged care.

“It is important we support regional Queensland to have appropriate size and accessible dwellings. In many centres there is a lack of diversity in home types, so downsizing is sometimes not an option and can lead to people moving from the town where they have lived their lives,” Ms Trad said.

“Compared to metropolitan areas, these remote areas often lack a highly competitive property development sector”.

These projects will also bring an economic boost to the towns, employing local trades and services where possible and providing apprentice training opportunities.

Another positive aspect is technology to make the houses more energy and water efficient.

This includes community solar panels, storage batteries and essential circuits which could enable them to operate off the grid during black outs.

“As well as being energy efficient, they will also be water efficient, providing a comfortable home with reduced energy bills,” Ms Trad said.

Economic Development Queensland will construct the homes and will consult with councils, businesses and community associations on preliminary concept designs.

Media contact: Deputy Premier’s Office 0488 996 667