The current review as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul the regulatory framework for retirement villages in Victoria. We have the chance to future-proof this legislation, and lead the nation in terms of retirement village regulation, which will enhance resident confidence in the sector.
We see the Options Paper as a non-definitive list of ways we can improve retirement village regulation in Victoria. We have set out below our shared vision and recommendations for the review. Our organisations may also make individual submissions with further suggestions and comments based on the experience and expertise of each organisation.
In our submission, we argue that the following is needed to improve outcomes for residents:
- Implementing a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework that clearly sets out the rights and obligations of owners, managers and residents, rather than relying on individual contracts;
- establishing a licensing scheme and public register for retirement villages;
- delineating the relationship between residential aged care, home-based aged care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS);
- ensuring retirement villages remain a community for older people by prohibiting operators from transitioning a village into other forms of accommodation, for example, rental units for people under 55 years old;
- ensuring that, regardless of the form of tenure, residents have the same rights, freedoms and protections;
- reducing the complexity of contracts and business models, rather than relying on disclosure to improve understanding;
- stronger regulation of fees and charges with the aim of ensuring these fees and charges are fair, easy to understand and reflect the actual value provided to the resident;
- establishment of a free, independent and expert retirement housing ombudsman service; and
- introducing mandatory staff training and village accreditation requirements.