Just like the citizens of New York in the popular 1966 science fiction novel by Harry Harrison, aged care in Australia – and the population general – faces a not-insignificant issue.
In our case, it's an issue with two unique facets. On one hand, the population of our country continues to grow, and on the other, the proportion of elderly members is starting to overtake their younger counterparts. Is this a problem without a solution? Or can our country handle these changing demographics?
We all know the current state of the population. McCrindle Research released data last year that showed by 2024, there will be 28.3 million Aussies, and 4.76 million will be over the age of 65. Just 20 years from that date, in 2044, there will be 38.7 million Australians, and 7.75 million over 65.
Our country will need to ensure there are adequate accommodations for such a large number of people.
Our country will need to ensure there are adequate accommodations for such a large number of people, especially in cities that are seemingly already at pressure points in terms of growth.
Take one look at Sydney for a clear example: the city faces rampant congestion issues, and any new land development means pushing out further and further from the central city. In fact, the planned second airport is set to go right in the middle of a rural area. Such a development is telling of how fast the population is set to grow.
In a short space of time, larger cities and towns will see farmland and small streets replaced with apartment blocks and busy expressways.
The Housing Industry Association released a report stating that Sydney is currently dealing with a significant constrained land issue.
"Constrained land supply in Sydney is one of the greatest burdens on new housing supply in Sydney," HIA Executive Director for NSW David Bare said. "Sydney has lagged behind other key states such as Victoria in timely and affordable land supply."
Thankfully, he was able to welcome a new land release that's sure to benefit the region. In the near future, a new 7,700 hectare area will open up for western Sydney.
Such releases show that there may not be much of a issue on the space side. The latest ACI Construction Monitor for spring of this year noted that there's a strong pipeline of work for the aged care sector, with new buildings on the way to deal with the expected population increases.
Certainly, further releases will be necessary if our population grows in line with the McCrindle Research data. After all, we can't start turning people into Soylent Green!