Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . .
Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.
Bill agreed to.
Retirement Villages Amendment Bill 2016
Debate resumed from 3 May 2016, on motion by Mr Rattenbury:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (11.25): I welcome the opportunity to speak on this bill. The management and protection of rights of residents and operators of retirement villages has always been a balancing act. The legislation before us today adds to the body of work undertaken four years ago. As anyone who has familiarity with the progress and history of the original bill would know, there was not a smooth path to the original Retirement Villages Act, so today this amendment bill has not progressed as easily as the minister might have liked.
In 2012 the former Labor MLA, Mary Porter, as a strong advocate for the rights of retirement village residents, introduced a private member's bill on the regulation of retirement villages and the protection of rights for residents. I recall that her first attempts to do this were, by any measure, a mish-mash and had a number of flaws, notwithstanding that the sentiments were very genuine. My colleague and former Canberra Liberals leader Zed Seselja spoke on the original bill when it was introduced in 2012. As he pointed out at the time, retirement villages are an important source of housing choice for seniors in the ACT. He described retirement villages as "a vital infrastructure for our seniors and more so that they are an effective means for seniors to access social support, improved lifestyle and security of tenure". Mr Seselja went on to say:
In this regard, when considering Ms Porter's bill today, we need to balance the imperatives between residents' interests and ensuring that operators have a business environment that allows them to plan their businesses with a reasonable degree of certainty.
Four years later, these are the same priorities we need to balance to ensure fairness and equity for both residents and operators.
The Retirement Villages Amendment Bill makes a number of changes to the Retirement Villages Act and the Retirement Villages Regulation 2013, RVR, to reflect the outcomes of a review undertaken during 2015. As the minister has advised, the act and regulations were subject to a wide review and consultation process involving the Retirement Villages Residents Association, ACT Property Council, Aged and Community Services Australia association, ACT Law Society, Council on the Ageing, Human Rights Commission and several other groups. The minister presented the report on the review to the Assembly when he introduced the legislation in May 2016.
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