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Australian healthcare – the new investment asset class

Australia is now leading the APAC region in healthcare provision and accommodation. Find out more from Colliers International’s Head of Healthcare & Retirement Living, Shalain Singh.

“A commonly held belief is that the Asian economies, and in particular Japan, lead the way in elderly care as they have had to deal with the ageing issue for some time. By contrast, the Australian system is still relatively young, yet faces the same issues – ageing population, declining workforce and of course, significant pressure on Government funding.

“The culmination of these issues has bought about a number of direct and indirect Government-led changes that are forcing the entire healthcare system in Australia to adapt – and rapidly.

“The unintended consequence of this is that in just three years since reforms were bought in, the healthcare system in Australia has leapt ahead of Japan – widely considered the leading economy in Asia for elderly care as well as it’s associated funding mechanisms. Economies such as Singapore and Malaysia are only just beginning their journey, with China marginally ahead of them but still significantly behind Japan.

“Conversely, Australia is rapidly moving towards a predominantly consumer-led-and-funded system that, by nexus, drives a person-centric care model. This is the model that Japan and other Asian economies are now trying to emulate to a greater degree, and they are looking to Australia to help them do it.

“The idea of mere “knowledge transfer” has now evolved and, for the reasons highlighted above in addition to our ‘safe heaven’ reputation, Australian healthcare assets are in high demand from offshore investors. Importantly, where previously offshore investment typically meant the asset purchase only, co-ownerhip – a capital solution for growth – or a jointly owned and operated model is becoming more prevalent and indeed preferred.

“The Australian drive to innovate, and our general entrepreneurial nature, has evolved a highly fragmented industry with varied models of care into a consumer-led system that is integrated along a continuum of care and turned the sector into a global investment grade asset class.”

By Shalain Singh, Colliers International Head of Healthcare & Retirement Living

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