The journalist primarily responsible for the Four Corners/Fairfax/ABC 2017 blistering coverage of the retirement village sector is back.
She utilised the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to publish one article and one opinion piece last week calling for retirement villages to be included in the Royal Commission..
In her opinion piece here she said:
“As a society we need to treat the elderly better. When they move into a retirement village or aged care facility they need to know they will be treated with decency and respect and properly cared for. That means wholesale reforms and a royal commission that is broad enough to include retirement villages”.
In her article here she said:
“At a press conference in Canberra on Tuesday, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked if retirement villages would be included in the terms of reference for the royal commission into aged care”.
“His response lacked an understanding of the seriousness of the issues in the sector whose peak lobby group is an arm of the powerful Property Council of Australia”.
The drive continues to establish an ombudsman for the sector in each state. Ferguson exhumes Gerard Brody from the Victorian government-funded Consumer Action Law Centre and Allan Fels again for comment:
“ “What we need is much greater protections around contracts, fairer pricing including dealing with deferred management fees, greater training and accreditation for retirement village managers, and of course improved dispute resolution like an ombudsman which can actually do something when residents have a complaint,” (Brody) says”.
“Last year Professor Allan Fels described the retirement village rort as the greatest untouched consumer protection issue of this century”.
“Speaking from China he said it was imperative that villages were included in the terms of reference of the royal commission”.
In my opinion, this behaviour by Ferguson and Brody is perhaps self-serving.
The issues of aged care are extremely serious and deserve the entire focus of the Royal Commission.. Retirement villages are ‘independent living’– a separate category of seniors accommodation and support – and to drag in discussion about contracts, dispute resolutions and lobbying for an ombudsman is entirely inappropriate.