Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Former Minister for Finance; Commerce; Small Business

    Boosting rights of seniors in retirement villages

    14/08/2012 12:00 AM
    • Residents’ rights strengthened regarding contracts and charges
    • Proposed changes include appointing a manager to a village at risk
    Proposed changes to legislation aimed at protecting the rights of retirement village residents and improving the regulation of the industry have been introduced into State Parliament.

    Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said the Retirement Villages Amendment Bill 2012 signalled the beginning of the State Government’s program of major reform of retirement village laws.

    “The Bill before State Parliament gives the Commissioner for Consumer Protection the power to apply to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) to appoint a manager to a village in extreme cases where the well-being or financial interests of residents are at risk. Certain people will also be prohibited from operating or managing a retirement village,” Mr O’Brien said.

    “The proposed changes will provide residents with greater protection by giving them more time to consider contract information, a longer cooling off period and the right to appeal to the SAT against excessive or unwarranted increases in charges.

    “The SAT will be able to make specific orders relating to the completion of works and the fulfilment of contract requirements relating to village amenities. Payments to village operators will be allowed to be released from trust once a resident is entitled to occupy the village unit rather than when a resident actually takes up residency.

    “The amendments propose to limit the time that recurrent charges are required to be paid by non-owner residents after they leave a village. The Government intends to set time periods of six months to apply to residents on current contracts and three months to people on future contracts.

    “The proposed amendments to the legislation are the result of a comprehensive review which involved extensive research and widespread consultation with both residents and industry operators and resulted in more than 100 recommendations for change.

    “Some recommendations from the review of the legislation have already been implemented, such as the establishment of the Seniors’ Housing Centre which is now operating from two locations, both of which are providing free information to consumers making important decisions about the best housing options for their retirement.

    “The Government is committed to addressing the concerns of retirement village residents and offering solutions to issues affecting the industry while maintaining its viability for the future.”

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