Buybacks: NSW Government to collect Central Coast and Lake Macquarie vacancy rate data after omission

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Two of NSW’s most vibrant local government areas for retirement, the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie, will have data collected every six months after a bureaucratic mistake.

The Retirement Villages Residents Association (RVRA) has been lobbying after the two locations were omitted from regulations to the Retirement Villages Act 1999 requiring operators to collect data on village vacancy rates.

This follows them being identified as regional areas and therefore subject to 12 month buyback requirements compared to metropolitan areas having a six month back provision.

“The information collected will reveal information about vacancies and the time it takes to fill them.  This will be important because it will influence the time it takes for departed residents to be paid out their exit entitlements and protect them from unreasonable delays,” said RVRA President Jim Gibbons (pictured).

Mr Gibbons said retirement operators across NSW now had to provide the vacancy data. Until now, there has been no data available to inform rational decisions about how quickly village operators should be required to return monies they owed departed residents.

“The current rules are based on guesswork and now this will change,” said Mr Gibbons.

“Retirement village residents in the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie were shocked earlier this year when regulations were issued which have disadvantaged them because someone in government had arbitrarily decided that operators should be given up to twelve months before being held to account.” he said.

NSW Better Regulation and Innovation Minister Kevin Anderson has amended the regulations.

“Minister (Kevin) Anderson has heard the protests from the RVRA and residents in these LGAs and has acted sensibly to resolve the issue. The residents are not completely happy as it could be a double-edge sword,” Mr Gibbons said.

“There will be 18 months of data collection and I am sure it will show Central Coast and Lake Macquarie will be among the most vibrant retirement areas in NSW.”