NSW Government appoints Kathryn Greiner as retirement village ambassador

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12 months ago, Ms Greiner handed her report into the NSW village sector to the Government, making 17 recommendations to improve the sector based on her five-month inquiry following the Four Corners/Fairfax investigation of village operator Aveo.

You can read the 17 recommendations HERE.

Ms Greiner has been vocal in her criticism of the sector, particularly in relation to transparency and contracts.

At the Property Council’s Retirement Outlook in Sydney earlier this year, she questioned whether older Australians would even look to retirement villages in the future.

“You have to think about this to see how you adjust and modify your work practices and improve the brand so it is a true option in the community,” she said.

In short: village operators need to get their house in order – or risk being made redundant.

Now the Sydney Morning Herald has exclusively revealed the Government will appoint Ms Greiner as ‘ambassador’ (an advocacy role) to represent the 55,000 retirement village residents across the state.

Ms Greiner says the role will be about sharing the legislative changes from the report with residents.

“As we become aware of issues, they’ll get escalated to the Department of Fair Trading, which is developing the resources to resolve them,” she said.

Recently the industry has been pushing for an ombudsman – Retirement Living Council President Alison Quinn stated two weeks ago in Canberra they were seeking to make the new RLC Code of Conduct mandatory in each state as well as supporting the appointment of an ombudsman.

The NSW Labor Party has also promised to establish an ombudsman if they win the March election.

Ms Greiner says she has more freedom as an ambassador.

“The ombudsman is a much more legislatively constrained role, whereas the ambassador is a wide-ranging role.”

Ms Greiner will begin travelling around the state this week to visit retirement villages and talk about the reforms as part of a roadshow by NSW Fair Trading.