The Hon. J.S. LEE (14:57):
My question is to the Minister for Human Services about the government's commitment to improve public housing outcomes for vulnerable South Australians. Can the minister please provide an update to the council about an apartment project designed specifically for older residents?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (14:58):
I thank the honourable member for her question. The population of South Australia is, as is well known, ageing—present members excluded, of course—and this trend is more pronounced in the South Australian Housing Trust tenant profile. The South Australian Housing Trust currently has the highest rate of underutilisation of public housing in Australia, with more than half our primary tenants aged 55 years or over. Four and a half thousand tenants live in underutilised housing and are aged 70 years or older, and a thousand of those are single older persons living in three or more bedroomed houses.
A 90-day project was undertaken, in conjunction with the Office for the Ageing and South Australian Housing Trust older tenants, to inform innovation in the future design of social housing for older housing tenants. This project resulted in a design brief for future Housing Authority senior living developments, which is an integral part of all future planning around housing and precinct design. I also understand from the Council on the Ageing that they were involved in a co-design process with TACSI, the Centre for Social Innovation.
It was with great joy that I was recently able to attend one of the new projects, which is a three-storey apartment building in Blair Athol, which provides not only on-site parking but a lift, Disability Discrimination Act compliant bathrooms, communal garden areas, bike storage and planter boxes at height, which were informed as design features from the 90-day project and from the co-design process with the Council on the Ageing.
We also have other projects at Plympton South and Prospect, which are underway and again provide particular features for older residents to enable them to age in place, such as being located close to public transport and other services. Dwellings are designed to maximise natural light, ventilation and views; enable tenant interaction and family visits; have improved visibility for tenants, which improves their sense of security; and a range of other opportunities as well.
My understanding is that 75 per cent of all future builds are intended to meet universal design guidelines, which helps not only older people but people with disabilities and a range of other people who often need particular features, which may also include mothers with prams and the like. The innovation is very much driving our design going forward, and I look forward to more of these particular builds coming online and being completed for the benefit of our tenants.