Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 6 August 2015) . . Page.. 2408 ..
of the Retirement Villages Act, and I make this statement to inform members of the Assembly about the government’s review of the Retirement Villages Act 2012 and to advise the Assembly that I will not be able to table the review within the three-month statutory time frame.
The Retirement Villages Act commenced on 4 March 2013. Section 265 of the act requires the minister to review the act as soon as practical after the end of its second year of operation. The purpose of the review is to see whether the act is operating effectively. Section 265 also states that the minister must present a report of the review to the Assembly within three months after the day the review is started.
I am pleased to inform members that the preliminary work on the review of the Retirement Villages Act is underway. I have convened a review advisory group to assist the government both in consulting the community and in providing expert policy advice. The advisory group consists of representatives of owners and operators of retirement villages, residents of retirement villages, advocacy groups, the property industry, the Human Rights Commission, the Law Society, the ACT Chinese Australian Association and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer Ministerial Advisory Council.
I would like to take a moment to give a brief overview of the Retirement Villages Act which regulates retirement villages in the ACT. The act replaced the old retirement villages industry code of practice which had been made under the Fair Trading (Australian Consumer Law) Act 1992. The act created a new regulatory scheme for retirement villages based on the New South Wales model. The act does not regulate aged care facilities as these are covered by the Commonwealth Aged Care Act 1997.
The act has a number of objects which set out the following rights of residents and operators: regulating the disclosure of information to perspective residents, requiring contracts that contain full details of the parties’ rights and obligations, providing for residents to participate in the management of retirement villages if they choose to do so, providing mechanisms for resolving disputes between residents and operators and providing best practice management standards for the retirement industry. This act is a genuine example of grassroots reform.
The bill was developed after extensive community consultation with an informed and engaged Canberra community. In addition representatives of the retirement village industry and individual residents and operators of retirement villages gave the government information and advice on the bill. It is now time for the government to review the act. We are, once again, calling on this informed and engaged community to help us with this task. The review advisory group will assist the government to conduct thorough public consultation on the operation of the act.
Madam Speaker, I have received feedback from members of the advisory group about the need for a public consultation period that is longer than the usual six weeks. Having carefully considered this feedback I will be extending the public consultation period to 10 weeks. Following this public consultation the government will need time to work with the review advisory group to consider the results and formulate recommendations. For this to be done properly the review is likely to go past the three