The Palaszczuk Government has further strengthened consumer protections for Queenslanders living in retirement villages.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said Queensland Labor is providing added certainty and security for retirees, regardless of the type of tenure they have over their homes.
“The Health and Other Legislation Amendments Bill shows that common sense prevails – it’s always our intention that seniors are treated with respect and dignity,” he said.
“Seniors leaving retirement villages should not have to wait more than 18 months to receive their funds after they decide to leave.
“As Association of Residents of Queensland Retirement Villages Vice President Michael Fairbairn would agree, seniors in this position often depend on these funds to pay for their next place of accommodation, such as aged care.
“We are changing the rules so people who terminate their right to reside in retirement villages will be paid for their homes after 18 months, even if it’s not yet sold.
“This change will provide Queensland seniors with peace of mind in their retirement years.
“Our seniors and retirees have given so much to Queensland over their working lives – it’s only fair and proper that they should be able to retire with peace of mind and security.”
Mr de Brenni said retirement village operators facing undue financial hardship could seek an extension of time from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
“In these cases, QCAT must take into consideration whether an extension would be unfair to the former resident,” he said.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure there is a fair balance between industry viability and consumer protection enshrined in this legislation.”
“I have asked the Department of Housing and Public Works to extend its services to resident operated retirement villages to help them understand their obligations, assist them to go to QCAT if required, provide advice regarding appropriate legal structures, and market and sell their units.
“This will be an independent service funded by the department to provide advice and support to resident operated villages.
There are currently about 42,000 Queenslanders living in 322 retirement villages. About seven per cent of the 29,000 retirement village units in Queensland have freehold tenure.
The changes are part of the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 and build on legislative reforms passed by Parliament on 25 October 2017.
“Queensland now has in place a wide range of safeguards for retirement village residents,” Mr de Brenni said.
“They included better pre-contractual disclosure, with adequate time provided to get advice, greater financial transparency and ensuring that staff, village operators and residents adhere to behavioural standards,” he said.
“Collectively, these new laws are delivering certainty and security for Queensland seniors when they are planning retirement, and after they retire.”