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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 29 November 2018) . . Page.. 5074 ..


meant finding a middle ground between the interests of residents and operators of retirement villages.

I would like to express my appreciation to the members of the review advisory group for the support they have provided to the government throughout the process of developing this bill. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the communities of the retirement villages who took part in consultation meetings with the Justice and Community Safety Directorate to support the development of this bill. I commend the passion and dedication of our stakeholders in this area.

Let me now address the amendments made by the bill. The bill provides another avenue for residents who are seeking to resolve disputes with operators of retirement villages. Residents will be able to access an enforceable conciliation process to address their complaint through the Human Rights Commission. If the complaint is resolved via conciliation, a written record of the agreement made between the parties will be provided to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal by the Human Rights Commission. The terms of the agreement are then enforceable as an order of the tribunal and the parties can seek enforcement orders in the ACT Magistrates Court. Conciliation processes offered through the Human Rights Commission will complement the current dispute resolution processes that residents may access under the Retirement Villages Act. These processes strengthen the ability of residents to choose how they respond to disputes in a way that is right for them.

The bill also addresses the issue of capital replacement. Submissions were received during the Retirement Villages Act review which identified a need to clarify the meaning of the terms “capital maintenance” and “capital replacement”. This was a major issue in the review, and I understand that these definitions have led to disputes between residents and operators about who should bear certain costs.

The meaning of these terms is significant because the cost of capital maintenance is funded by residents of retirement villages, with operators bearing the financial responsibility for capital replacement. This is truly a case where the devil is in the detail. In developing this legislation the review advisory group has considered many different scenarios. If, for example, a hot-water heater is broken and the tempering valve needs to be replaced, is this maintenance or is it replacement? Does replacing a capital item include replacing a part of a capital item? Each situation needs to be considered on its merits.

The bill amends the definition of capital replacement so that replacing “part of a capital item” will not constitute capital replacement, unless the replacement of a part of a capital item constitutes a substantial improvement, addition or alteration to that item. The bill also proposes a new guideline-making power to provide more detailed guidance to residents about specific situations. This approach aligns with case law which recognises that the decision of whether an action is capital maintenance or capital replacement must be made on a case-by-case basis.

The guidelines are being developed in consultation with the review advisory group. The group has been hard at work thinking about common scenarios in retirement villages and the questions residents and operators may have about what could be


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