Industry confronts misunderstandings about need for buybacks

A strong turnout for WA's Retirement Living sector heard from a range of financial and marketing experts, as well from the location retirement village regulator, at a Property Council breakfast in Perth earlier this month. 

Sponsored by Jackson McDonald and Perrott Painting, the event featured a keynote by Penny Lipscombe - Director, Policy and Legislation at Consumer Protection, who provided an update on discussions between industry representatives including operators, residents and peak bodies through the fast-tracked reforms process kicked off in response to COVID-19. 

During her presentation, Ms Lipscombe flagged the introduction of mandatory buybacks was imminent, although the proposed model to be put to the State Government before the end of the year, had yet to be finalised. 

Accompanying mandatory buybacks would be an Aged Care Rule, with the Property Council and Retirement Living Council making strong representations to Consumer Protection through the process about the risks and factors at play with these proposals.

A panel discussion between Retirement Living Council President M-L MacDonald and Ms Lipscombe examined some of the impacts of mandatory buybacks on operators with a focus on what had been witnessed interstate in recent years. 

Other speakers included Mitesh Ramji from Grant Thornton, who provided insights into the latest financial considerations for operators and outlines the need for financial prudence with the continuance of uncertainty around the economic impacts proposed reforms may have on industry. 

The event concluded on a high note with David Mooney, Village Manager at Lendlease's Timberside Villas in Woodvale, was presented with the WA Programmed Village Manager of the Year Awardat the event. Mr Mooney went on to win the National Programmed Village Manager of the Year Award at the virtual 2020 National Retirement Living Awards held on 19 November.