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Will WA deliver a budget for seniors?


National Seniors Australia urges better support for Western Australian seniors. Do you agree?

  • News
  • Read Time: 5 mins

Key points


  • National Seniors has released its WA Budget 2024-25 submission. 

  • Key recommendations target housing, oral health, transport, security, and concessions. 

  • Cost of living is a key concern. 

The Western Australian Government can better support older people by adopting the National Seniors initiatives contained in our Western Australian Budget Submission 2024-25.

Our key recommendations promote housing, stamp duty reform, better oral health, home security, public transport, and concessions to help with cost-of-living pressures.

Housing 

While we welcomed the government’s $750 million investment in social housing, homelessness initiatives, workforce supply, and land supply as part of the last budget, these strategies are not enough to fix the housing crisis facing older people unless more suitable housing is built.

There is a lack of suitable low-cost housing for older people to purchase either to downsize into or to escape the costly rental market. 

Seniors’ housing

An important role for state governments is to ensure planning laws encourage the market to deliver new and innovative housing options suited to the needs and wants of older people beyond the retirement village model.

Developers appear to be focused on high end or high-rise housing, which may not be suitable for older people, particularly those with limited wealth or income.

There is a need to build more age-friendly medium density housing in areas where older people already live to provide feasible downsizing and rental options for older people.

Shared equity

Older renters should have the opportunity to co-invest in the construction of new housing using shared equity arrangements.

This would assist those who cannot afford to buy a home, but who could contribute a portion of capital towards the construction of a dwelling. By using a mixed rental/ownership tenure model, the government could facilitate the construction of new homes for older Western Australians.

Fact file – WA seniors


The number of older people in WA is rapidly growing. In 2023:

  • the 50-plus population was 977,471, more than double 25 years ago

  • the 65-plus population was 463,137, double 20 years ago.

Projections show a similar story, with the proportion of people aged 65-plus estimated to increase from 14% in 2017 to nearly 22% in 2066.

Retirement village protection

The WA Government should work with other jurisdictions to strengthen retirement village laws (making laws nationally consistent) and give confidence and protection to seniors entering contracts.

Stamp duty concession: Eligible seniors should have access to a stamp duty concession comparable with existing schemes operating in other states and territories. Stamp duty costs are a major barrier to seniors moving to more suitable housing as they age.

A concession for stamp duty for Pensioner Concession Card holders and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders would operate on a sliding scale and apply to new dwellings, helping to boost the supply of housing in WA.

Oral health 

Oral health deteriorates with age and should be a high priority for government. Additional funding should be allocated for seniors’ oral health programs to provide regular comprehensive services.

This would result in fewer hospital admissions, saving the health budget many millions of dollars.

The scope of existing government funded programs is unsatisfactory. A solution lies in the establishment of a mobile dental service in regional areas (similar to the Breast Screen WA mobile unit).

This would provide better access to dental services and support people living in aged care in regional areas as well as regional communities with limited access to private dental services.

Concessions 

Older people on fixed incomes are especially hit hard by rising living costs. So, while we support the WA Government’s current concessions, we believe the times call for more support through tailored concessions and rebates.

Specifically, the government should increase the local government rebate cap in line with the increased cost of local government and water supply charges. All concessions and rebates should also be regularly indexed to keep pace with rising costs.

Transport 

Transport concessions and subsidies ensure those with limited means have mobility and the ability to connect with family and friends – especially important as Western Australians emerge from COVID-imposed restrictions.

To increase mobility and reduce transport costs, we call on the WA Government to follow South Australia and extend free public transport to all seniors.

Security 

Older Western Australians, as elsewhere, are concerned for their safety as the threat of violent crime creates worry and uncertainty.

The government has taken a practical step to support older people by initiating the one-off $400 Safety and Security Rebate. However this should be extended in the form of a biennial $400 rebate for seniors installing security devices in their home.

By offering seniors a rebate every two years, the WA Government will be helping older people ensure their security systems are adequate and up to date.

Read the full submission here.

Author

John Austin

John Austin

Policy and Communications Officer

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