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The ancestor of every action is a thought
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Oak Tree Group

 

What value to an economy is the older generation – retiree’s? Many of my columns have argued the importance of creating an economic and cultural climate that retains our youth. Enable them to realise their ambitions here, invest here, have families here, contribute here; rather than move away. If we don’t, a region can stagnate and eventually die. Does retirement though mean you are more a cost on society than a contributor? Rockhampton presently has under construction a project costing $12-14 million that wouldn’t be happening if we didn’t have a significant number of senior’s. In fact, it is the developers second development in the city and they also have another on the Capricorn Coast with a further one under development. The developer is Oak Tree Group; their mandate is to provide affordable, independent care free living for seniors. As their Managing Director Mark Bindon states, “It is a growth market across Australia”. The baby boomer generation; generally enjoying greater longevity and more income than their predecessors has created this current demand for an alternative residence and lifestyle to the now near empty family home. The Park Avenue development in North Rockhampton was Oak Tree’s second village when opened in 2008. By the end of June this year the Group plans to open another 4 and have 32 villages from Cairns to Hobart. It is a fascinating entrepreneurial story and one that Mark will share when he next visits Rockhampton on February 27. A story of recognising a need in the market, developing a model that the market finds attractive, sourcing the finance needed, then successfully marketing it to make it happen. It is also a story of the importance of seniors to an economy. This region alone, from this one developer, is benefitting from their multi-million-dollar investment. Local tradespeople benefit from the work created in building or renovating the villages. Jobs are created in the management and maintenance of the villages. New opportunities are created for entrepreneurs providing more innovative ways to meet the seniors needs in a village setting as opposed to living in their own home.  Though there is a bigger, arguably yet to be tapped, benefit to the local economy a senior’s village setting offers, in that it encourages and makes easier greater social interaction. This could, if handled carefully, lead to more seniors sharing their business and life knowledge with local youth. Assisting them in recognising they don’t have to realise their ambitions elsewhere, there is a pool of experience they can access here that may not as accessible elsewhere.  Then there are the potential olderpreneur’s who from talking about their ideas start business ventures that may enhance the cultural climate as much as the economic in the region. Senior years doesn’t mean retirement from contributing to the economy, especially if we pro-actively look at senior’s as a valuable resource to tap into. Be interesting to hear Mark Bindon’s views on this notion. If interested in attending Mark’s presentation ring 0457 794 252 for details and to reserve a seat.

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