Property Council recommends a retirement Victorian village ombudsman

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The same Property Council submission reported ‘complaints’ data available from Consumer Affairs Victoria showed 0.13% of the retirement village resident population made a complaint to Victorian authorities in the 2014/15 financial year. “This is significantly lower than the previous year. We also note that this is significantly lower than complaint levels of similar asset classes”.

However if a consumer advocate was to be considered the Property Council recommended the South Australian model of a Retirement Village Advocacy Program (RV Advocate).

Funded by Government, the RV Advocate assists residents with:
• information about rights and entitlements
• advocacy support, assistance or representation when contacting village management,
• assistance or representation at tribunals.

The SA RV Advocate employs a full-time staff member. It’s free, confidential and independent.

The SA Office of the Ageing reported that as at July 2015 (eight months from establishment), the RV Advocate has responded to 522 contacts and engaged with 109 of those requiring further assistance.

The RV Advocate work assisted in reducing the number of tribunal matters to six in the 2015 financial year, down from 52 the previous year.

By comparison the NSW Seniors Rights Service (formerly The Aged-Care Rights Service -TARS) reported in 2014/15 giving 2,070 telephone advices, 150 face-to-face interviews, 2,700 legal referrals, nearly 700 legal information services and opened 66 and closed 41 cases.