September 8th 2017
Government fails to take decisive action on Retirement Housing
Yesterday the Victorian Government responded to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Retirement Housing – but many issues remain unresolved.
The government has chosen to opt out of any meaningful action on unfair contracts, high exit fees, poor complaints processes and treatment by village managers and operators.
Retirement housing residents and COTA Victoria (alongside Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria, Consumer Action Law Centre and Housing for the Aged Action Group) has campaigned long and hard for stronger consumer protections for older people. The response from the Victorian Government is underwhelming – it will be devastating for older people and their families.
We know from residents of retirement housing that an Independent Industry Ombudsman is the number one recommendation they wanted government to support. This is essential to providing a low cost, independent and accessible dispute resolution process. It is a devastating blow for older Victorians who have campaigned hard to have access to justice and basic consumer protections.
Whilst the Victorian Government has supported the recommendation to conduct a review of the Retirement Villages Act 1986, there is no specified date or timeline, preferring to defer many issues while waiting for a range of current reviews to be completed.
The government has also taken no action on the recommendation that retirement village managers must undertake accredited training, leaving it up to the industry to self-regulate.
Comments attributable to Ronda Held, CEO COTA Victoria:
- The response from the government is a lost opportunity to take national leadership on protecting the rights of older people and their families in Victoria.
- This government’s response demonstrates a continued lack of will to regulate to improve access to justice and the treatment of older residents by village managers and operators.
- COTA is keen to work with the Government, retirement village residents and operators to take action on developing better safeguards for residents.
- The overwhelming evidence from 760 submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry has not propelled this government to act.
For media enquiries:
Ronda Held 0450 785 437
Lizbeth Gonzalez 0430 713 059
Download COTA Victoria Media Release
Download Residents Of Retirement Villages Victoria Media Release