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Property Real Estate, Seniors Interest


WCMT & UQ 2 mins read

A Churchill Fellow from South Australia believes the National Housing and Homelessness Plan, and state and territory housing strategies, must incorporate explicit consideration for housing for older Australians. 


Churchill Fellow, Victoria Cornell says housing for older people is largely missing from housing policy discussions to date. Despite the limited options currently available for older Australians who do not own their own home, affordable housing suitable for older people is in extremely short supply. Home ownership is gradually decreasing among those approaching retirement, falling from 80 per cent to 72 per cent for those aged 50-54 since 1996. 


Dr Cornell is also recommending that the Australian Government urgently convenes a senior officer’s group to develop policy options for consideration by the Cabinet. 


House prices in Australia have risen sharply in recent years, and older people are not immune from affordability issues; indeed, they are uniquely vulnerable to rising prices due to fixed incomes and the potential for increasing healthcare costs, Dr Cornell wrote in her research report A culture shift towards better affordable housing policy and development options for older Australians. 


The article is jointly presented by The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and The University of Queensland, as part of their partnership to develop the flagship publication Policy Futures: A Reform Agenda. This publication features succinct and timely policy articles written by Churchill Fellows and will be released at the Churchill Policy Room event at Australian Parliament House on 27 June.  


The Churchill Policy Room event is part of the Policy Impact Program, the partnership between the University of Queensland and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to showcase the research and recommendations of Churchill Fellows working in policy reform. 


Victoria Cornell was awarded a 2019 Churchill Fellowship sponsored by AV Jennings.  An experienced social gerontology researcher, she travelled to Denmark, Germany, Austria, Spain, Japan, Singapore and the USA to investigate alternative, affordable models of housing to help older Australians to age in place.


Quotes attributable to Victoria Cornell 


“While social housing has long been considered an appropriate option for older lower income households, demand far exceeds supply, the stock is inappropriate and inefficient and there is an increasing complexity in the needs of tenants. 


“There are so many opportunities to learn from the rest of the world – in Denmark for example social housing makes up over 20% of the total housing stock and is founded in principles of being non-profit to keep rents low, having tenant democracies where the residents influence their own housing, and having a financial model where the State and municipalities support the construction of non-profit housing. 


“While in Singapore, the nature of the housing, which is primarily clusters of low and high rise modest sized apartments – means they have corridors designed to be used as a vibrant social space for children and families, allowing for strong social connections. 


“There needs to be single points of ministerial accountability for all housing policy, funding and delivery, and there needs to be a bundling of all the different federal, state and local incentives across the housing ecosystem to optimise attracting housing investment. 


“By the end of 2024, the Australian Government should establish an innovative housing options fund, which would provide grants to support partnerships between industry, local and state governments and give housing and planning ministers, developers, and investors the power to deliver demonstration projects and pilots."


For more information on the Fellows featured in Policy Futures: A Reform Agenda, visit

Contact details:

Media contact: Matt Neagle | 0408 207 256 | 


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