Vale Zig Inge AM – Retirement Village Pioneer

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We have only now heard that Zig Inge passed away at home a month ago yesterday, aged 96.

He came to Australia from Latvia in 1949, aged 22.

Zig was an early pioneer of the modern retirement village sector. Between the late 70s and when he and his family sold the Zig Inge group in 2007, they created 19 villages with over 3,000 homes.

He is largely credited for the concept of structuring village contracts such that residents would pay a lower entry deposit for their village home and only pay for the accommodation component when they departed the village – the Deferred Management Fee concept.

Zig was also known for his deep respect of residents. He insisted on calling residents Mr or Mrs (or Ms), no matter how well he knew them, and he personally attended every budget presentation.

He was also the first to introduce live-in managers.

After the sale of the group to a Macquarie Bank-backed consortium (named Retirement Villages Group – RVG), he felt the focus on resident well-being became somewhat lost in the ‘corporatisation’ of the industry. To demonstrate this the family repurchased the Prospect Hill Village in Camberwell, 9km east of Melbourne’s CBD and reintroduced their personal management style, which continues today.

Zig was also passionate about philanthropy. His Zig Inge Foundation, founded in 2008, focuses on funding community groups whose activities are designed to have a positive and long lasting impact on the well-being of diverse, less privileged groups and communities.

He actively supported Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience.

Zig was awarded the Order of Australia in 2012.