Industry funds must renew aged care investment focus

One of the top national lobby groups for older Australians has called for more involvement from industry superannuation funds in the aged care sector.

At a roundtable hosted by Industry Super Australia and over 50s consumer group Council on the Ageing (COTA Australia), super fund executives discussed how the $2 trillion superannuation system could support the development of aged care services and vital infrastructure.

COTA Australia chief executive Ian Yates said the aged care sector will need trusted institutions willing to invest in much-needed infrastructure.

"It would be terrific to see greater involvement amongst the industry super funds. Funds also have an important role to play in supporting members get access to the best aged care through both advice and new product development," he said.

The roundtable, including representatives from AustralianSuper, Cbus and IFM Investors discussed services that would help consumers plan for their aged care and better understand and navigate the complex system.

Australia, like most developed countries, has an ageing population. By 2016 it is estimated that 18% of the Australian population will be aged 65 years and over and 2.3% will be 85 and over.

According to the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFI), the residential care sector alone will require $35 billion to cater for this demand.

In July, health and community services fund HESTA showed the way investing $19 million in an Australian-first dementia village designed to recreate real life experiences for residents.

The Korongee village, built in the Tasmanian suburb of Glenorchy, will have 15 demographically tailored homes set within a small town context complete with streets, as well as a supermarket, cinema, cafe, beauty salon and gardens.

Each home will be staffed by health professionals who dress casually and will act as 'home makers' to provide an authentic home-like environment, and residents within each house will be matched by their similar backgrounds, experiences, interests and skills.

"The project was a natural fit for our fund," HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said yesterday.

"Helping our members plan for their future aged care needs is part of the financial planning service we offer as part of supporting our members to achieve the best possible retirement."

First State Super has also made significant investment in the sector, electing in September to invest in owner, developer and manager of retirement villages throughout the east coast, Oak Tree Group, to support their expansion aims.

Read more: Aged careSuperannuationCOTA AustraliaHESTAAged Care Financing AuthorityDebby BlakeyFirst State SuperIndustry Super AustraliaISA
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