LGA SA claims ‘many’ retirement village operators seek to be licensed under SRF Act

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The Local Government Association South Australia has made two recommendations in the review of the Retirement Villages Act 2016.

In South Australia, supported residential facilities (accommodation and care services to people with disabilities, mental illness) are regulated through local government, which is different than the rest of the country, whereby SRFs are primarily regulated by state governments through health residential or community services legislation.

There are 12 retirement villages in the State who have a dual licence under the SRF Act.

“This is not ideal and only serves to create confusion and duplication within the system, particularly regarding the investigation of complaints and the enforcement of potential breaches of either of the Acts,” said LGA SA.

LGA SA stated in its submission an “unintended consequence” has seen many retirement village businesses requesting to be licensed under the SRF Act due to a perceived tax benefit from a significant annual land tax reduction.

“This is not considered to be in the spirit of the legislation but results in additional burdens to councils,” said the LGA SA.

It recommends:

  • That the issue of private home care services is more thoroughly defined and reviewed by the Office for Ageing Well (OFAW), in consultation with the LGA, the Department for Human Services (DHS) and key stakeholders;
  • That the OFAW takes steps to remove the uncertainty of premises requiring to be dual licensed in consultation with the DHS and the LGA; and
  • That the OFAW support and advocate to the DHS to review the Supported Residential Facilities Act 1992 (the SRF Act) and Regulations and seek to have the Retirement Villages Act and Regulations aligned with the SRF Act and Regulations.

It further recommends that “where there is no Commonwealth oversight, the OFAW’s Adult Safeguarding Unit be responsible for the investigation and enforcement of breaches to ensure that protections are in place for frail and vulnerable residents.”