The conversations of life

A fair go: new reforms to benefit NSW village residents – plus have your say on national code of conduct


NSW will introduce a mandatory code of conduct and a new retirement village ‘Ambassador’ under a range of reforms announced by Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean this week.

The changes follow an extensive inquiry into the sector by Kathryn Greiner AO which was announced after the ABC and Fairfax Media launched a highly-publicised investigation into village fees and contracts.

They include improved disclosure of contract terms such as exit fees; better dispute resolution services for residents; and measures to clarify responsibilities for maintenance costs.

As we covered here, the NSW Government already introduced an online calculator to help residents and families understand the cost of retirement villages last year.

Village residents the winners

While the measures will only apply to NSW residents, it appears the other states will follow suit.

Just a day after the NSW announcement, Victoria’s Liberal Nationals promised to set up a retirement village ombudsman if they are elected in November.

A new national Code of Conduct for retirement villages is also being established – and you can have your say on it.

The Retirement Living Council, which is part of the Property Council of Australia, is asking for public feedback on the voluntary set of standards which will cover all aspects of village life from signing the contract and moving in to re-selling the home.

Once finalised, the three peak bodies for village operators; the Property Council, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) will be encouraging their members to commit to the code.

Both are welcome moves. We recently received a message from a former retirement village resident expressing concern that the system favours the operator – we hope these initiatives will go some way to restoring trust and transparency.

You can read the draft Retirement Living Code of Conduct and provide comments here until Friday 20 July.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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