Retirement housing sector

Ms SANDELL (Melbourne) — I raise the matter of retirement housing and draw the attention of members to the urgent need for a review of the Retirement Villages Act 1986. Housing is a fundamental human right, and accessible, dignified housing for older Victorians is a crucial part of the picture. 

I am deeply concerned by what I have heard from advocates and residents of retirement villages, including some of my local constituents. Residents are often locked into expensive and complicated contracts. They are not consulted about changes, including changes to fees, and their residence might be a far cry from what they were promised. In some cases, because of unfair contracts, families are being forced to continue to make payments for services to retirement housing long after their relative has passed away. We can do much better than this.

I commend the invaluable work of the Consumer Action Law Centre, advocating on behalf of residents and families of residents stuck in complex and unfair contracts, and of Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria for calling for reform. This is a systemic problem. It needs comprehensive review and reform. Retirement housing providers must be effectively regulated to ensure that older Victorians and their families can have confidence that they will be properly cared for and fairly treated. I strongly urge the Andrews government to put a review of retirement housing back on the agenda and not sweep it under the carpet.

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