The NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean, was the keynote speaker at the Property Council Annual Retirement Forum (NSW) last Tuesday.
He spoke publicly for the first time since he had received the Greiner Report into retirement villages after the June 2017 Fairfax/Four Corners program.
He said: “It is absolutely vital that your industry succeeds” (playing a vital role in seniors’ accommodation).
He said the government needs to make sure the laws are not stifling business but also to make sure that consumers get value for their money and a fair deal.
“Getting balance in your industry is particularly important. We need more retirement villages”.
He said it is true that there are extremely high levels of satisfaction and things are improving with resident complaints. His Department of Consumer Affairs was receiving nine complaints per month in 2014 and 15 and it was down to five per month last year.
However, he had visited retirement villages that “treat residents abysmally”.
“This time last year the public didn’t think the balance was right”.
“Your industry is going through a different change – cultural change – community expects you to display openness, accountability and justice”.
“It goes beyond black letter contracts. Consumers want to know if you are being fair”.
He said to achieve greater levels of satisfaction consumers needed certainty and information that they can make meaningful decisions on.
He concluded by saying he wants to work with industry to get the balance right.