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Blog | SARVRA welcomes the release of the Retirement Villages Bill 2015 for consultation

SARVRA welcomes the release of the Retirement Villages Bill 2015 for consultation

14/4/2015 - Guest Blogger, Pamela Judge, President of SARVRA

sarvraThe release of the Retirement Villages Bill 2015 for public consultation in February 2015 is the culmination of the enquiry by the Select Committee in 2013 and the South Australian Government's response to the thirty-four recommendations in 2014.

The Minister, the Hon Zoe Bettison, in her public releases describes the document as one that provides opportunity for reform; in a balanced approach it protects the rights of residents of retirement villages while also looking to the interests of the operators. The Bill is a completely new document with a simplified approach and generally written in plain English.

In considering the Bill, members of SARVRA have welcomed the proposal to improve the clarity of the residence contracts for prospective residents and the intent of the new disclosure statements has been highly acclaimed. However, whilst the Bill states the disclosure statements are provided 15 days before entry it is hoped that they will also be made available in advance to prospective residents who are trying to decide between different villages, allowing them to compare apples with apples.

SARVRA & COTA have jointly conducted many information sessions in the past few weeks which have been well attended by residents who see this as their opportunity to have their say in improving the conditions of the villages in which they reside and to be part of the changes in the legislation and regulations. Most also say that they have become more aware and are becoming better educated about their rights and responsibilities. Presenters have been impressed by the questions, which have covered issues such as the need for a clear disclosure statement; concerns regarding the possibility of rentals in villages increasing; the expected better protections for, and clearly determining the roles and responsibilities of residents' committees; and ongoing maintenance and management issues. From reading the Bill, it becomes apparent that there has been a focus on encouraging best management practices by all operators, increasing the opportunities for residents to have greater involvement in the financial matters relating to their village so they may ensure quality financial reporting occurs on a regular basis.

Comments and suggestions to the Minister relating to the Bill need to be received by the Office for the Ageing by close of business, 24 April 2015. Click Here to read the Bill and find more information on how you can contribute your opinions.

SARVRA eagerly awaits the release of the Regulations that will support the Bill and look forward to the opportunity to be further consulted, and to consult with residents, when this occurs. We believe that the Bill and the regulations ought to be passed through Parliament quickly as to delay may indeed cause prospective residents not to move into villages until the new Bill is promulgated.

Although the consultation process is drawing to a close, residents who would like to avail themselves of an information session at their village are invited to contact president@sarvra.asn.au to arrange a time mutually convenient.

For more information about SARVRA, including how to join, visit their website http://www.sarvra.asn.au/