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COTA Commends Victorian Opposition’s support for Retirement Housing Ombudsman

Media release

26 June 2018

Mathew Guy (Opposition Leader) and Heidi Victoria (Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs) announce they will establish a Retirement Housing Ombudsman if elected in November.

According to COTA Vic (CEO) Ronda Held, an independent Ombudsman is essential to providing a low cost, independent and accessible dispute resolution process for older people to access. This announcement is welcomed by many older Victorians who have campaigned long and hard to have access to justice and basic consumer protections.

Despite the findings from the 2017 Parliamentary Inquiry into Retirement Housing, there has been no decisive government action on key recommendations.

An Industry Ombudsman will also be able to monitor, investigate and report on issues such as unfair contracts, high exit fees and poor treatment by village managers and operators.

“We know from residents of retirement housing that an Independent Industry Ombudsman is the number one reform they want government action on. Residents have shared their experiences and concerns through forums and in testifying at the Parliamentary Inquiry. Their stories on a lack of respect, bullying, no effective dispute resolution, excessive fees and poor management practices have been told repeatedly”.

According to Ms Held “Residents have described feeling intimidated and afraid to make complaints. If they do pursue a complaint, it can be costly and the outcomes are not binding.  There is also no monitoring of systemic issues and problems in the industry.

“COTA Victoria calls on the Labor party to take a bipartisan approach with the Coalition and Greens and support retirement housing residents through the establishment of an Ombudsman. Improving consumer protection and increasing access to justice for older people should be supported by Labor.

COTA Victoria alongside Consumer Action Law Centre, Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria and Housing for the Aged Action Group will continue to advocate for this much needed reform.

 

For media enquiries:

Ronda Held 0450 785 437

Donna Swan 0419 896350

Lizbeth Gonzalez 0430 713 059

This news was categorised COTA Vic, Working for Change and tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

8 Responses to COTA Commends Victorian Opposition’s support for Retirement Housing Ombudsman

  1. Judith says:

    We, the pensioners living in retirement villages need help and we need it now. All our inquiries fall on deaf ears and we are left in a state of hopelessness and wondering why, after working and paying our taxes during our working life, we are treated as we are, disrespectfully and unkindly by people only interested in the money they are making.
    If it were not for we trusting souls, they’d be making none.
    Please, an Ombudsman is desperately needed to clear up this mess.
    It’s not much fun living in old days houses with no insulation I can tell you.

  2. Maureen Kelly says:

    The revision and monitoring of retirement village operation in Victoria is long overdue. The treatment of residents amounts to violation of their intellectual, physical, emotional, financial and other boundaries for which operators and managers appear to have total disregard, disrespect and understanding. That some/many (?) operators are in business only for personal greed, is obvious. Hopefully residents can look forward to vast improvements on their behalf, particularly for their future personal well-being in knowing that the industry may be investigated with positive outcomes.

  3. Ksth says:

    Victoria desperately needs an ombudsman for aged persons in retirement housing and community housing for the aged, to help us with far less stress than we have to go through now for any kind of resolution to any disputes we have in this area

  4. terence sedgwick says:

    As a resident of a Retirement Village, I totally agree with your message to the Labour Party.
    Thank you for your help in this matter.

  5. seniors2 says:

    THANK YOU! We will keep campaigning

  6. seniors2 says:

    We will keep campaigning on this. Let your local MP know how important it is.

  7. seniors2 says:

    Thank you for your comment and COTA along with Housing for the Aged Action Group, Consumer Action Legal Centre and Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria will continue to campaign for reforms and an Ombudsman.

  8. seniors2 says:

    An Ombudsman’s Office that can address systemic failures in the retirement housing sector and make binding decisions in disputes is long overdue. We also need residents where they can to pursue their complaints and let their local MP know that this needs to be fixed now. Housing for the Aged Action Group provides direct support and advocacy on retirement housing matters. We hope things improve in the near future and you feel more hope.