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Do the Federal Budget home care packages for seniors contradict other Government policies to free up housing?

15 May 2018

This year’s Federal Budget includes a plan to help up to 20,000 older Australians stay in their own home but some say it contradicts policies designed to free up housing.

The plan involves billions of dollars allocated for home care packages for the increasing number of seniors who want to stay at home rather than entering aged care facilities.

But Sian Sinclair from Grant Thornton Australia told Australian Financial Review that the plan would damage the impact of budget measures from last year that were designed to give incentives to seniors to downsize their home.

Under last year’s plan home owners over 65 were allowed to make a $300,000 non-concessional contribution to their superannuation if they sold their home as long as they’d lived in it for ten years.

“Last year they were encouraging downsizing through the capital gains tax concessions and the superannuation concessions around where that money got parked,” Ms Sinclair said.

“But here they’re almost putting a handbrake on that downsizing by providing opportunities for people to continue to receive care in their own homes.”

“It goes a way against that housing affordability measure, where we are talking about freeing up larger properties which could be made available for families.”

“It would also mean putting older Australians into accommodation which is more suitable for their time of life.”

Darryl Price, also from Grant Thornton, said the number of packages was quite small but the property market would still feel it.

“While 20,000 packages is not a lot in the overall scheme of things, it will have an effect, particularly for those people who have a high-valued property in the major cities,” he told AFR.

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