On November 30th over one hundred older people from retirement villages, residential parks and independent living units filled Victoria’s Parliament House calling for leadership on retirement housing reforms. The event was held to launch the State Election platform Retirement housing matters: Make it fair and affordable by COTA Victoria, Consumer Action Law Centre, Housing for the Aged Action Group. The platform outlines practical solutions to reforming a sector that provides an essential housing option for older Victorians.
Residents and retirement housing advocates came together to hear what Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz, Shadow Minister, Heidi Victoria and Greens MP, Ellen Sandell had to say about retirement housing reform. Ms Kairouz acknowledged the pace of reform may be frustrating for residents and the Government was committed to getting the right reforms in place but Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria (RRVV) President Lawrie Robertson was unconvinced.
“We need to even up the power balance between owners and the operators on the one side and residents on the other with greatly enhanced resident rights and protections, and a strong and proactive regulator,” Mr Robertson said.
“Our top priority is for an external dispute resolution system that provides binding decisions without having to engage in an adversarial process and certainly without having to apply to VCAT. We want an ombudsman and we want one now.”
With the industry growing to meet the needs of an ageing population, the sector needs fit-for-purpose regulation and legislation to maintain confidence in the sector and protect older Victorians.