Consultations Retirement Villages
Legislation review and update bulletins
Consultation status: Closed 15 July 2013
On this page:
- Issue 1: October 2013
- Issue 2: November 2013
- Issue 3: December 2013
- Issue 4: January 2014
- Issue 5: February 2014
The Department of Commerce is currently advancing changes arising from amendments in the Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2012.
Many provisions require regulations to be drafted and gazetted in order to become operational.
The current intention is to proclaim the Amendment Act at the end of 2013 (for its commencement in early 2014) along with the new regulations and a revised Code.
It is intended to provide a lead time between gazettal and commencement of the regulations and Amendment Act to allow for educational and information materials to be distributed to industry and residents, as well as time for the industry to adjust contracts and financial arrangements where appropriate.
A second more complex Bill addressing the remaining final report recommendations is intended to be progressed as soon practicable following the above commencement.
Broadly, the review recommended retirement village laws be strengthened in the interests of residents and that there be a better balance of power between residents and operators (administering bodies) of retirement villages.
Some of the review’s recommendations can be implemented by non-legislative means, and others require amendments to the Code, the regulations or the Act itself.
Community and stakeholder expectations for legislative change are high and the changes have been the subject of extensive consultation with industry and residents. The Department is working to achieve a clear and relevant legislative framework which protects the reasonable interests of both residents and operators.
Over the past few decades, the nature of the industry has changed considerably.
Teh legislation for industry has not been altered significantly since the Retirement Villages Act 1992 (the Act) was introduced in Western Australia. The Act requires a review of the operation and effectiveness of the Act to be conducted every five years.
An extensive review of retirement villages legislation was completed in November 2010.
In February 2006, the then Minister for Consumer Protection approved a review of both the Act and the Code to be undertaken concurrently. In conducting the review, Consumer Protection convened a series of public meetings in both metropolitan and regional Western Australia from July to September 2006. Over 900 people attended these meetings and a large number of issues relating to retirement villages were raised in this first stage of the review. An issues paper was released for comment in June 2007 and over 300 submissions were received.
An analysis of the submissions and further research and comparison with similar legislation in other Australian jurisdictions resulted in further consultation and the drafting of the final report of the review. The report, which contains over 100 recommendations, was tabled in Parliament in November 2010.
Because of the number and complexity of the proposed reforms, the former Minister for Commerce decided the reforms should be implemented in two stages. The Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2012 (the Amendment Act) passed through Parliament on 23 October 2012 and gained assent on 5 November 2012.
A discussion paper released in mid 2013, outlined proposed changes to the Code which included meeting Fair Trading Act 2010 requirements, and dealt with a number of issues, such as:
- The need for village managers to genuinely consult with residents and provide financial and other information about the operations of the village.
- How budget surpluses will be spent in the village.
- Mandatory auditing of village accounts and the right for residents to collectively opt out of auditing.
- The ability for residents to vest the functions of a residents’ committee with an incorporated association.
- Residents’ rights to negotiate on the refurbishment of their unit when leaving the village
The Amendment Act has not yet commenced. Regulations are required to be made, before various of the Amendment Act’s provisions may become operational.
Due to the interrelationships between the Amendment Act, the Regulations and the Code, all reforms are intended to be implemented together with the commencement of the Amendment Act (expected to be early 2014).
The retirement villages legislation comprises:
- Retirement Villages Act 1992 (the Act),
- Retirement Villages Regulations 1992 (the Regulations), and
- Fair Trading (Retirement Villages Interim Code) Regulations (No. 2) 2013 (the Code).