Page 721 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 26 February 2013

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It is a pity that Mr Seselja is behind the times with his dialogue about the support of the industry and the residents. He dismissed the great deal of consultation—in fact, intensive consultation—that went on for many years. I did not need the support of this bill to get myself elected, as Mr Seselja believes I did. It was evident to the community why I should be elected to this position. I look forward very much to working with all of the people in this chamber for the next four years.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (11.01), in reply: I thank members for the support of this bill and I commend Ms Porter for her ongoing support of those in our community who reside in retirement villages.

Ms Porter has demonstrated a very keen and consistent interest in making sure that those older residents in our community who choose retirement villages as their choice for living are given appropriate protection under the law. It is to her credit that she has continued to advocate for the interests of those who are not in well-established or well-recognised arrangements for their living choice and who have not always had the same level of statutory or legal protection that others have.

When you recognise the very significant and considerable amounts of money that people who live in retirement villages often invest in that choice as to where they reside, the level of statutory legal protection now available to them as a result of the Retirement Villages Act is a very important safeguard for that big financial investment that so many people make when they choose to move into a retirement village. It is down to Mary Porter that we now have this scheme. She is to be commended wholeheartedly for the consumer protection that she has advocated for people living in retirement villages.

The JACS bill that we are debating today makes amendments across legislation administered by the Justice and Community Safety Portfolio. In particular, it deals with those issues relating to the passage and commencement of the Retirement Villages Act 2012. Most of these are consequential amendments and the remainder will make minor improvements to the act itself. As members would know, the act was passed in August last year and commences on 4 March this year. The act has an effect on a number of other laws within the justice portfolio which do require consequential amendment.

Commencement of the act also requires steps to be taken to ensure that it can commence smoothly. One of these steps is to ensure that funding arrangements, consistent with the funding arrangements in New South Wales, are in place to ensure that the costs of administering the act, including the costs of educational and advisory services for residents and prospective residents, can be met. In addition, the bill amends the fair trading legislation to ensure an enforcement scheme that is in line with the New South Wales scheme. The government is currently finalising a regulation under the Magistrates Court Act to allow some offences under the Retirement Villages Act to be enforced in the same way as they are in New South Wales.

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