Society Seeks Court Hearing On Project

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11th November 2009, 03:13pm - Views: 975

People Feature The Benevolent Society 1 image

Registered Office

The Benevolent Society

           PO Box 171 Paddington NSW 2021

Paddington NSW 2021                                  Donations 1800 819 633                                                       ABN 95 084 695 045

Media Release

11 November 2009

    Innovative Aged Care and Accommodation Scheme Seeks Hearing

The Benevolent Society has initiated a hearing in the Land and Environment Court on its innovative

aged care and accommodation project – Apartments for Life (AFL) – at Bondi.

The proposed hearing will seek endorsement of revised development plans lodged with Waverley

Council in March 2009.

The 140 unit project will allow up to 95 per cent of residents to remain in their home until end of life

and not have to move into a nursing home or hostel. 

An unprecedented 40 per cent of the apartments will be affordable so locals who are aged pensioners

or unable to pay market prices will be able to stay in their familiar community. 

The not-for-profit scheme is based on a successful overseas model. It is geared to allowing older

people to remain in the neighbourhood of their choice, retain a level of independence and draw on

care services as required, while maintaining a quality of life as they grow frailer. 

The Society has committed to spending more than $60 million on bringing the project to fruition,

including some $5 million on fully refurbishing the heritage-listed, Victorian-era Scarba House and

preserving the site’s historic fig trees and gardens.

The project is proposed for a site in Bondi that has been owned and used by The Benevolent Society

for many decades.

The site area totals 11,650 sq metres (the size of two football fields), half of which will be open space

and available to the general community to use and enjoy for the first time.

The Benevolent Society has been in discussion with Waverley Council about this project since late

2007. The original Development Application was lodged in May last year.

The development was submitted under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors

or People with a Disability) and is compliant with SEPP 65 design quality principles and the Council’s

social plan.

“The Society has listened to community feedback and made substantial changes to the original

Development Application. Those changes have produced a very balanced design for the area,” said

Richard Spencer, Chief Executive of The Benevolent Society.

“The site is located in a medium density area - it is an ideal neighbourhood for keeping older people

close to transport, shops and connected to local services. 

“We have worked hard to minimise the impact on neighbouring buildings. We believe our design

strikes the right balance between containing the impact as much as possible while including

substantial public benefits. 

People Feature The Benevolent Society 2 image



Registered Office

The Benevolent Society

           PO Box 171 Paddington NSW 2021

Level 1, 188 Oxford Street                            T 02 9339 8000  •  F 02 9360 2319                            

Paddington NSW 2021                                  Donations 1800 819 633                                                       ABN 95 084 695 045

“The design has been guided by the need to maximise access to social networks; avoid social

isolation; boost the efficient use of community care services; promote independence; and include a

substantial number of social housing and affordable housing apartments.”

Mr Spencer said independent research by a range of experts in the field of aged care as well as

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures clearly show that Australia must begin to prepare for a looming

crisis in the availability of suitable living facilities for older people.

“Some 40 per cent of the apartments will be set aside for locals who are aged pensioners or older

people not able to meet prevailing market prices,” he said. 

“The Society is not undertaking this project to make profits. It will take on a deficit of up to $6 million in

the early stages as a result of the residential subsidies allocated. 

“We are committed to this project because it is a much needed new model of accommodation and

care for older Australians, and because it will provide an option for today’s future generations beyond

traditional nursing homes and hostels.

“We have had a large number of interested older people from the eastern suburbs area contact us in

support of the project and to  enquire about the availability of the proposed units for themselves.

“Importantly, we are convinced that it will provide a viable template for other organisations elsewhere

in Australia, and we will be happy to share our experiences on the project with them.

“It is very satisfying that experts in the field of providing and researching aged care and

accommodation have unanimously endorsed the Apartments for Life model, and the benefits that will

flow from its introduction.

“An independent study undertaken by ACIL Tasman Economics concluded the benefits of the project

to the community, government and other stakeholders would far outweigh the costs.”

Mr Spencer said The Benevolent Society believed a proposed hearing in the Land and Environment

Court was a responsible and transparent path to pursue in support of the project.

Mr Spencer said the Waverley LGA had one of the highest proportions of older residents in Australia.

People aged 75 years and constituted over 7.3 per cent of the LGA’s total population compared to the

Sydney-wide average of 6.1 per cent.

Media inquiries to Tracey Young, The Benevolent Society, 0449 901 753 or Graham Cassidy,

Cato Counsel, 0419 202 317

About The Benevolent Society

Established in 1813, The Benevolent Society is Australia’s first charity. Its 700 staff and 600 volunteers continue

to support more than 17,000 children and adults each year in metro, regional and rural New South Wales and


The Society works with women, children, families, older people, people with a disability and those who care for

them and people affected by adoption.  The organisation, through more than 120 separate programs, supports

vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the lifespan to build on their strengths and lead happy and fulfilling

lives. It helps to connect communities through support groups, volunteer visiting programs and community

projects. The Society’s vision is that every person is healthy, safe, connected and has a meaningful and

productive role in their community. It spends 94 per cent of its revenue on its community services.


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