A plan for Australia's retirement villages

The retirement living industry launches an eight-point plan to deliver higher standards, clearer information about costs and contracts, and an independent umpire to resolve disputes.

Ben Myers, executive director of the Property Council’s Retirement Living division, says the eight-point plan will lead to greater transparency and higher standards across the industry.

“This is about addressing the feedback and public perceptions, and demonstrating that our industry is listening and responding to public concerns,” Myers says.

More than 20 operators met with retirement village resident association leaders in Melbourne recently to hear resident feedback and work on common issues.

“We’ve worked with the members of the Retirement Living Council, who represent around 40 per cent of the entire industry, but also with the chairs of our state committees, to make sure these eight points reflect the views of the entire industry,” Myers adds.

Among the measures are support for mandatory accreditation for retirement village operators, clearer contracts and better dispute resolution mechanisms.

“Each of the eight points are important, but the ongoing commitment to working with the Australian Retirement Village Residents Association is essential as it underscores our long-term commitment,” Myers adds.

The action plan will form the basis of future discussions with politicians and regulators about enhancing the industry.

More than 180,000 older Australians live in retirement villages, and Myers says independent surveys and resident feedback confirm the “clear majority” of village residents are enjoying the retirement village lifestyle and the advantages it provides.

“But there are improvements that operators in the industry need to make, to ensure residents have complete certainty about their contract, including what they’re paying for and when they’re paying it.”

Last week, the Retirement Living Council wrote to all members asking them to sign an open letter of support for the eight-point plan.

“This reinforces that these points reflect the views of the entire industry. This isn’t just about the big or the small players, and it isn’t just East or West Coast operators. There is a real industry-wide commitment to deliver on these points.

“And the open letters are already flowing in,” Myers adds.

Operators, residents or members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback via the Retirement Living Council website.

Download the Retirement Village Industry Eight Point Plan.