Page 5341 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2011

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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Retirement Villages Bill 2011

Ms Porter, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.02): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

It is with great pleasure that today I introduce the Retirement Bill 2011, which will create a framework for the regulation of retirement villages in the ACT. Some in this chamber may remember that I have previously tabled two other documents in relation to retirement villages—namely, Retirement villages in the ACT: a discussion paper and the exposure draft of the Retirement Villages Bill 2010. Members will recall that at the time of tabling the exposure draft I spoke about the need for Australian governments at all levels to respond effectively to the issues associated with an ageing population.

As is now well known, Canberra’s population, and that of Australia generally, is ageing. In fact, over the last two decades the median age of the Australian population has increased by 4.8 per cent according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and the ACT’s population is ageing faster than anywhere else in Australia. This means there are proportionately more elderly people within the population, which presents unique challenges for governments throughout Australia in such diverse areas as health, labour force participation and housing.

The ACT Labor government is committed to addressing the challenges associated with an ageing population effectively in a way that supports positive ageing. This bill is just one example of the various areas where the Labor Gallagher government is working hard to assist older members of the ACT community, while simultaneously implementing measures to ensure all Canberrans benefit from the knowledge and wisdom of older members of the community. This bill also delivers on another of the election commitments made by this government—that is, the introduction of an effective structure for the regulation of retirement villages.

According to data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in six people aged over 65 reported moving house during the past five years. For many of these people, the reason was a change in lifestyle or downsizing from a family home. Many of these people will have moved into a retirement village or contemplated moving into a retirement village. The retirement village industry has experienced strong growth in the ACT in the recent past and is anticipated to continue to grow in the future. Information obtained by my office suggests that there are currently around 1,400 retirement village units in 28 retirement villages in the ACT.

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