Ben Myers, Executive Director of the Retirement Living Council (RLC), has expressed fears about the reviews of the Retirement Villages Acts in Victoria and South Australia.
Submissions into a review of Victoria’s Retirement Villages Act 1986, the first since 2004, have closed. The Victorian Government has released an Options Paper on the Act, which regulates the contractual relationship between retirement villages and their residents.
“Having received a confidential briefing on the proposed reforms to retirement village legislation in Victoria, it is safe to say there are a lot of proposed changes. Our worry is that much of these suggestions will lead to burdensome extra costs for residents, and future residents,” said Mr Myers.
“While we work through the detail of these proposed changes with our members, there’s a real need for the industry to pull together clear data and strong advocacy. We are strongly communicating to the Victorian Government that people will not choose retirement villages, even with additional consumer protections, if they are too expensive and there are cheaper alternatives.
“We already know most older Victorians prefer not to move from family homes, and that those who do look very favourable at strata apartment options. These choices provide very few of the healthy ageing benefits delivered through retirement villages. That means older Victorians and the state’s health budget will be the real losers if legislative changes cripple the attractiveness of retirement villages for residents and investors.”
In South Australia, a review of the Retirement Villages Act 2016 has been tabled in Parliament. The review’s intended objectives are:
- clarifying the rights and responsibilities of both operators and residents,
- enhancing information disclosure requirements,
- providing tighter definitions, and
- ensuring improved consumer protections.
“Working with our members we are pleased that they have not recommended any immediate changes regarding exit entitlements,” said Mr Myers.
“Government is listening when we say that this is a complex issue with some significant potential impacts, and have indicated that there needs to be more data collected to understand those impacts before any future change is made.
“Our members have identified we need to ensure there is a strong contribution of data, so when government looks to implement that recommendation for data collection operators are providing their data and helping the government understand the impacts across all types of villages in all parts of the state.”