COTA Victoria and SRV welcome the opportunity to contribute to the next stage of the review of the Retirement Villages Act 1986 (the Act). We are particularly pleased that the Victorian Government is continuing with this long overdue reform and providing further opportunity for feedback on the Exposure Draft Bill (the Bill) following the curtailed consultation before the last state election.
COTA Victoria and SRV have provided feedback on the Act on several occasions since the initial review of the Act in 2019. This submission is in line with our previous work in this area.
With this, we welcome that the Bill reflects multiple areas of previous feedback, including standardised contracts and greater clarity around capital maintenance obligations. The Bill in its current state would deliver significant benefits for current and future residents of retirement villages in Victoria. However, there are elements that are still missing from the Bill – which would deliver much needed reform to the sector. We urge the Victorian Government to deliver on the promise of the Bill and make these changes.
- The inclusion of an additional principle that emphasises the need to support older Victorians to understand information around retirement villages.
- The creation of a free, independent and expert retirement housing ombudsman service.
- Adjusting the latest timeline for exit entitlements to 6 months, in line with NSW.
- Removing persistent breaches as a reason for a contract termination for a substantial breach.
- That the Victorian Government commit to a future public consultation on the prescribed information for the RV Register.
- That the Victorian Government commit to funding education services regarding contractual information for both residents and prospective residents of retirement villages.