Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) supports the New South Wales (NSW) Government’s efforts to safeguard the rights of retirement village residents. The NSW Government has supported the findings and 17 recommendations in the Greiner Review Report that aim to improve the legislative framework for retirement villages and the operational practices of both the industry and the regulator.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said LASA and its retirement living Members are committed to continuous improvement and look forward to working with the NSW Government on its areas of focus for retirement village directions.
“These include; increasing transparency of exit fees and contracts, clarifying the funding arrangements for ongoing maintenance costs which are shared between residents and operators, and providing more support when disputes arise (and reducing the potential for disputes to arise).
“The Greiner Review Report concluded that improvements in the requirements for industry reporting and data collection would improve Fair Trading’s oversight of the sector and that industry best practice could be more consistently applied.
“It is essential that moves in this area are streamlined and do not simply add ‘red-tape’ and unnecessary costs to the village operators or residents.”
LASA applauds the Government’s statement that “it is important to recognise that the Greiner Review Report also identified a large number of positive experiences by residents, managers, operators and the industry at large, who requested minor changes only and are otherwise satisfied with their time in the village”.
Mr Rooney said LASA Members who operate retirement villages have highlighted the importance of the retirement living sector for older Australians and for the economy generally.
“Residents report that they live in retirement villages as a matter of choice and preference and appreciate the lifestyle, security, and social connectedness that this brings to their lives,” Mr Rooney said.
“The retirement living industry contributes significant benefits to Australia’s current and future economy.
“Further details of these NSW reforms are required and LASA will be consulting our Members on the path forward.”
LASA has raised with Commonwealth and State Ministers the scope for more consistent language across the different retirement living regulatory systems in the States and Territories.
This could assist consumers to better understand the service offerings on a more consistent basis and is aligned with NSW Government directions.
Mr Rooney said a critical input to forward directions is a new national Retirement Living Code of Conduct initiated by LASA, ACSA and the Property Council of Australia that has been recently released for public comment.
“The Code of Conduct aims to include all retirement community owners and operators as signatories as part of their commitment to delivering great experiences for senior Australians,” Mr Rooney said.
“Once the Code is finalised, our three organisations will promote it to the more than 3000 retirement communities across the country and be strongly encouraging them to sign up and commit to the standards, to demonstrate their commitment to their residents.
“This strongly aligns with the NSW Government priorities. A National approach in this is essential for transparency and consumer clarity.”