Page 5344 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Examples of these measures include regulation of waiting list fees to ensure they are fair in their application, provisions to clarify how retirement village units are managed and modified, and an ability for residents to choose an agent other than the retirement village operator to sell their interest in the village.

With respect to the management of the financial affairs of retirement villages and the management of villages generally, this bill introduces a number of provisions which seek to guarantee that the obligations placed on management and residents are clearly explained. Of particular interest to many involved in the retirement village industry, either as management or as residents, are new provisions regarding the administration of the capital replacement fund and the maintenance reserve fund. In my experience, this is an area where disputes often arise and an area in great need of clarification.

This bill also contains provisions designed to protect ingoing contributions of residents through creating a charge over retirement village land. Again, through my consultation work, it has become evident to me there is much concern among retirement village residents that, should their retirement village become unable to continue operating, they will lose both their homes and, for some, the totality of their savings.

Regarding the participation of residents in the day-to-day operations of the village, this bill introduces provisions which establish residents committees in retirement villages and endorses their role in the functioning of the village. This bill also creates a framework for the operation of residents committees, including basic rules for the operation of meetings and their interaction with the management of the village.

The final key area that this bill addresses is dispute resolution in a village. This bill establishes a three-stage process for the resolution of retirement village disputes. The first stage is preliminary negotiations between the parties concerned. The second stage is mediation by a qualified mediator, and the third stage is an application to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. This three-stage process ensures that complaints or conflicts are not unnecessarily escalated, possibly increasing the conflict, and are resolved quickly and effectively.

To ensure that this bill meets the needs of all stakeholders, I have conducted extensive consultation in relation to the exposure draft and retirement villages generally. I have spoken to residents of retirement villages, managers and owners of retirement villages, relevant peak bodies and associations and members of the general community. I have also held a roundtable discussion with the ACT Retirement Villages Residents Association, the Retirement Villages Association, the ACT Council on Ageing, Seniors Australia and Aged Care Community Services Australia, and I have met with ministers or their advisers responsible for retirement village regulation in other states as well as having conversations with senior members of the ACT legal community.

Forums were organised with key stakeholders, and key stakeholders were invited to comment. Some bodies and individuals also commented on the exposure draft in writing, and many more called my office to share their experience and opinions. I would like to take this opportunity to register my thanks to all those who have participated in this consultation process, some of whom are in the public gallery today.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video