By Margaret Maccoll
Seniors called for a review of legislation and the introduction of a national contract for retirement villages when they attended a forum at Twin Waters last week with Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.
About 150 seniors from across the Sunshine Coast attended the forum organised by Fairfax MP Ted O’Brien.
Residents identified multiply problems with retirement villages they wanted addressed.
They said there were too many lease models with too much complexity. Contracts should be simpler and more flexible, they said – and calls were made to nationalise retirement village contracts. There needs to be a review of exit fees, reinstatements and refurbishments as transition costs are prohibitive, they said.
The seniors said a review done 10 years ago had done nothing to change the situation.
In 2007 a review was undertaken by a Federal Parliamentary Committee and a report written which recommended:
* Federal, state and territory consumer protection ministers look at whether a statutory supervisor would be appropriate.
* Federal, state and territory attorneys-general look at how they could harmonise legislation.
* And the ACCC and state and territory fair trading offices form a working party to examine the nature of retirement village contracts, including reviewing all aspects of exit fees and other fees including whether they should be abolished.
Senator Wyatt said he would discuss the matter with Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack but legislation governing retirement villages was a state government responsibility.
Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson who also attended the forum said the Retirement Village Act needed to be addressed in a review.
“There needs to be a rewrite of the act and it needs to be done urgently,” she said.
The seniors also discussed medical issues. They said issues of concern were increasing Medicare costs, loading on medical insurance and the need to be able to share information to prevent illness.
Mr O’Brien said of the information put forward at the forum would be collated by his office and made available.
He said the next seniors forum to be held next year would discuss cost of living issues.