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Establishment of Mature Age Community near Alice Springs
In March 1986, Cabinet was provided with an information paper on work being undertaken in relation to establishing a mature age community near Alice Springs. The Submission noted the rapid growth in the number of mature age and elderly people in the Australian population and a trend towards earlier retirement coupled with improved financial capacity and prosperity of the retirement aged population. This change in demographic and economic characteristics was also evident in the United States, where it had led to the emergence of communities designed specifically to provide a recreation oriented lifestyle for retirees, such as Sun City in Arizona and Laguna Hills in California.
Such projects were observed as having strong parallels with Alice Springs in climatic and lifestyle characteristics. As a result, the Chief Minister had agreed that a study should be carried out to test the feasibility of developing a comparable community in Central Australia.
A community of this nature was seen as having important benefits for the Northern Territory in general and Alice Springs in particular, and would contribute to:
- the economy of the region
- a greater demographic and sociological balance
- an overall improvement in infrastructure consistent with increased population
- an improvement in human skills and resources available in the Territory
- opportunities for tourism development in the region.
Preliminary parameters for the proposal included planning for a maximum capacity of 20,000 people, a self-contained community with a distinctive image and separate identity, and probably drawing on the style, management and concepts of comparable communities in the United States. It was suggested the Territory Government would provide a master plan for the selected area, basic engineering works and essential services, and necessary social infrastructure such as health and welfare services. Special infrastructure such as golf courses or other active recreational facilities would be provided by developers.
A research consultancy was proposed, with the intention of producing an interim report on the project for the Minister for Lands in May 1986. A final report on the feasibility of the project together with a cost/benefit analysis and an assessment of its social and economic impact on the Territory was anticipated by the end of 1986.
Cabinet noted the information. Read the Cabinet decision - submission No. 3876 and decision No. 4527 of 11 March 1986