Affordable housing for older West Australians has long been neglected but was just as important as housing for first homebuyers, WA Housing Minister Brendon Grylls says.

The WA government has released a discussion paper on housing for older people as it shapes up for an election in March next year.

The discussion is particularly targeted to older people on low to moderate incomes.

According to comments in local media, “WA has the highest proportion of senior renters in the country, and by 2050 the number of people in WA aged between 65 and 84 is expected to double to one million people”.

Housing minister Brendon Mr Grylls said “last homebuyers’ were just as important as first homebuyers, but had long been overlooked”.

Community Housing Industry Association WA project director Barry Doyle said, “a decline in applicants on the Housing Authority waitlist is misleading and demand for social housing is at crisis levels” .

The association’s Systemic Change for Better Outcomes contained five major recommendations, including transferring more housing stock from the Housing Authority to community housing providers, and reviewing the income and asset eligibility limits for social housing applicants, Mr Doyle told Community News.

Property Council encourages state government on plans for the aged housing sector

The Property Council WA supported the government’s announcement and urged it to do more in the sector.

“The fact that the government is taking notice of the plight facing many seniors, when it comes to housing, is a big win for the retirement living sector,” Property Council WA executive director Lino Iacomella said.

“The Property Council has been calling for reforms to improve the lives of West Australian seniors and we look forward to working with government to secure sustainable and appropriate housing options for all West Australians.

“People are living and working longer than ever before, which will have a profound impact on the needs of those entering senior’s accommodation. Latest statistics show that there were 340,200 people aged 65 years and over in WA at June 2015, representing 13 per cent of the state’s population,” he said.

Among recommendations from the Property Council are a stamp duty grant for eligible seniors who are downsizing, reform of the Retirement Village Act and introducing retirement living housing targets for local governments.