South Australian Draft Retirement Villages Bill (2015) – Property Council of Australia submission
The Property Council of Australia has significant concerns with this draft Bill as it stands. It imposes heavy-handed new red-tape on operators, would have serious cash-flow and financing impacts on the industry and would significantly impede future investment in retirement villages in South Australia. The new statutory repayment provision in the Bill would also hurt residents through foreseeably compressed residence values.
South Australia needs to support a healthy and sustainable retirement living industry to ensure we can house, support and care for our ageing population. Retirement villages provide fit-for-purpose housing that enables people to live their desired lifestyle after retirement. Evidence shows that the majority of retirement village residents are happy with their lifestyle choice (the McCrindle Baynes 2013-2014 Census found that 94 per cent of residents are happy with their village).
Further to the above, the Bill does not address the Commonwealth Government’s aged care reforms and contains significant ambiguities and inaccuracies. There is also a new and frankly alarming infringement proposed upon operators’ civil liberties through the removal of the common law right to silence when faced with potential criminal charges.
No sound evidence base has been provided in the Guide to the draft Bill for the new heavy-handed regulation proposed. The Bill also does not align with the recommendations made by the recent South Australian Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry into the Retirement Villages Act 1987 (Chaired by former Minister John Hill).
The aforementioned McCrindle Baynes census of the Australian retirement village sector found that 93 per cent of residents surveyed felt that their decision to move into a village had been a good financial decision.
The draft Bill proposes punitive regulation for an industry that is desperately needed in South Australia from a housing diversity, demographic and economic development point of view.
We urge the Government to address the severe flaws in the Bill as outlined in this submission prior to its introduction into Parliament. We would welcome an opportunity to engage with the Government further on the amendments required.