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Stage 1 of State-of-the-art Rathdowne Place Wellbeing Precinct opens in Carlton

09 Sep 2014

Key points:

Rathdowne Place aged care to become home to 162 residents
New Wellbeing Precinct redefines aged care, offering residents new levels of choice and flexibility in inner-city Melbourne
Total project cost $180 million, $67 million for Stage 1
200 jobs created during Stage 1 construction, 160 ongoing employees
Precinct is part of the Victorian Government’s Carlton Housing Redevelopment Project
Award-winning Better Together®* model of care implemented
The Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon David Davis, and the Minister for Housing, the Hon Wendy Lovell, today officially opened Rathdowne Place, Australian Unity’s flagship $180 million Wellbeing Centre, retirement village and aged care facility in the heart of inner-city Carlton.

Australian Unity Retirement Living Chief Executive Officer Derek McMillan said Rathdowne Place seeks to redefine aged care, offering residents new levels of choice and flexibility.

"We are thrilled to have two Ministers who have been integral to the development of this project officially open the first stage of Rathdowne Place today," Mr McMillan said.

"We believe Rathdowne Place is a forward-thinking and unique aged care, retirement village and wellbeing precinct that challenges existing perceptions of the industry. Once fully complete we expect Rathdowne Place will be a template for future inner city ageing communities in Australia."

Stage 1 of Rathdowne Place is a $67 million Wellbeing Centre and aged care facility which, in addition to 160 aged care beds, includes a hydrotherapy pool, senior’s gym, rooftop garden and cinema.

The five-story development—designed by architect Daryl Jackson—allows elderly people to live in the middle of one of Australia’s busiest cities. It forms part of the Victorian Government’s Carlton Housing Redevelopment Project and is a socially and economically responsible example as to how a PPP (Public Private Partnership) can support a community.

"Australian Unity has implemented a new care model at Rathdowne Place, which we have called Better Together. Better Together is an alternative to the traditional service model in aged care in that it seeks to give residents more control over their daily lives, with the support of multi-skilled care partners," Mr McMillan said.

The model of care was trialed at Australian Unity Wahroonga Aged Care and the results indicated residents’ self-esteem and (self-reported) quality of life both increased. In 2013 the trial program received the national 2013 HESTA Aged Care Award for team innovation.

"The Better Together model connects with residents in a genuine way, respects their right to make decisions and makes it possible for them to achieve their goals. At Rathdowne Place it means residents can continue to live an independent lifestyle with open plan kitchens, staying active with gym and swimming facilities, enjoying a movie in the on-site cinema or sharing a coffee date in Carlton," Mr McMillan said.

In addition to Better Together, the facility also sets new benchmarks for retirement living and aged care with technology throughout the building benefitting both residents and staff. This state-of-the-art technology ranges from automatic light sensors to detect and alert staff how long a resident has been out of bed for overnight care and safety, to WiFi and Smart TV that allow residents to use social networks to interact with friends and family.

Rathdowne Place is destined to become an integral part of the Carlton community and will actively encourage local people to use the services available, to enjoy the on-site café, social activities, health and fitness programs and to connect with residents.

"The inner-city location of Rathdowne Place makes it incredibly accessible for friends and family to visit from work in the CBD or during an outing into one of Melbourne’s most famous suburbs. When meeting with friends and family at Rathdowne Place, residents can relax in the café, stroll through the Rathdowne Place park or venture into the bustling suburb of Carlton," Mr McMillan said.

"With Stage 1 now complete, we expect construction of the next stage, 90 retirement apartments over eight levels, to start within a few months," Mr McMillan said.

- Ends -

*‘Better Together’ is a registered trademark of the Australian Unity Group

For further information:


Andrew Scannell,

Head of Public Affairs and Communications

03 8682 6777 or Mobile 0429 187 105


For further information or to organise an interview or tour, please contact:

Elizabeth Rawstron,

Senior Account Manager, Thrive PR

9425 9111 or Mobile 0452 494 481


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