Page 5075 - Week 13 - Thursday, 29 November 2018

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maintenance and what could be replacement. I have asked the group to work with my directorate to finalise these guidelines over the summer.

The government acknowledges that clarifying the definition of these terms sometimes means finding a compromise between the interests of residents and operators of retirement villages. I know that many residents and operators of retirement villages have strong views about what maintenance and replacement should mean and who should pay for what. I believe we have struck the right balance in this bill, and I would like to thank our review advisory group for the careful deliberations on this matter.

The bill also makes amendments to voting procedures which are prescribed within the Retirement Villages Act. These amendments do not affect residents of unit-titled retirement villages, and I will talk about those particular villages shortly. Under the Retirement Villages Act there are many situations where the operator needs to seek the consent of residents, such as proposed spending in the budget. Residents indicate consent through voting. At present the act provides for one vote per person. If two people live in a unit, both of them may vote. Before the Retirement Villages Act commenced operation, voting was done on a per unit basis. If two people lived in a unit, only one of them could vote.

Voting was a major issue raised in the review of the Retirement Villages Act. The government received submissions saying that one vote per person was inequitable, as couples could outvote single people. These submissions said that this was unfair in those villages where single people paid the same amount of money in recurrent charges as a couple, and that it would be fairer to have one vote per unit. Other submissions expressed the view that one vote per person should be retained as it was important in a democracy for everyone to have their say.

This bill finds the middle ground. The bill amends the Retirement Villages Act to make the default situation one vote per unit. This responds to the situation in the villages where sole occupiers make equal financial contributions to the life of the village but receive a lesser voting share. The bill also provides a mechanism for villages to retain a “one vote per person” model of voting, by passing a special resolution. This allows individual villages to choose the voting procedure which is right for them.

Residents of unit-titled retirement villages will also benefit from the passage of this bill. The ACT’s two unit-titled villages, Araluen Lifestyle Village and Ridgecrest Village, are regulated under the Retirement Villages Act and the Unit Titles (Management) Act. Residents and operators of these villages have advised government that, administratively, these acts do not work together as well as they could.

Once the bill commences, copies of a proposed annual budget and general fund budget can be provided to residents at the same time for approval, instead of at two separate meetings. These amendments also reduce a need for residents to attend additional meetings where duplicate information is provided. Quorum requirements

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