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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3940..

MS PORTER (continuing):

number of forums across Canberra. As a result of these discussions, a considerable number of written and verbal submissions were received from the ACT community, and I was very pleased to receive such positive feedback and valuable insight into this important area of concern.

You will note that the discussion paper explores legislation in other jurisdictions which governs retirement village living, and, in particular, identifies the following areas: information disclosure; financial management; and dispute resolution. They are areas that require some review in light of the current arrangements in the ACT, and I have been looking at how other jurisdictions deal with these particular matters.

Many issues were raised by those who were engaged in this consultation process, which largely surrounded matters that fall within various legislative approaches taken in other jurisdictions. It was evident from these consultations that individuals who have chosen to live in retirement villages have varied expectations, some of which may not have been met. Through my forum discussions, there were also matters raised that are either not issues that can be addressed through ACT legislation—that is, matters of federal government concern—or concerns that need to be addressed perhaps through amendments to other ACT legislation. This could be, for instance, in the area of planning. It will be necessary to pursue these matters; however, we need to consult more widely as we go forward on these and other matters.

The ministerial meeting on ageing that I attended earlier this year may be a forum for discussions regarding some of these more complex matters. For instance, it is a widely held belief that, by entering into a contract for an independent living unit within a facility that also offers a hostel and nursing home, you are guaranteed a seamless transition of progressive living where it is necessary. In fact, this is not the case. As members would be aware, nursing home and hostel care is funded and administered through commonwealth legislation. Other matters raised were concerns around communication, and it became evident that the quality of communication between management and residents, for instance, varied quite considerably from one facility to another. However, one cannot legislate for good communication.

The discussion paper outlines 31 recommendations in relation to possible legislation in the ACT, and I would like to acknowledge all those in the community that contributed to the discussions so far. It was with great pleasure that I met with so many people who contributed to this process and who, I believe, will benefit from the eventual outcome. This included residents, prospective residents, managers and owners and the ACT Council on Ageing, and I thank them, in particular, for their input so far.

Of course, a consultation process such as this also involves many people behind the scenes, and I thank those who provided venues, facilitated small group discussions and helped prepare this discussion paper. I would also especially like to mention my staff, Annika Hutchins and Emma Smith, for their months of very hard work on and commitment to this task. This, indeed, has been a team effort, and these two staff members should be recognised today for the important part they have played in this process. Thanks, too, to my senior staff member who kept the day-to-day work on track and on time all the while.

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