The story entitled Retirement Village Overhaul went to air on Friday November 17, 2017. The six-minute segment largely focused on Berkeley Living Serviced Apartments, which is now set to close following media and authority scrutiny. It also repeated previous interviews with disgruntled residents about the retirement village industry in general.
The focus then turned to a Federal Government crackdown on the states’ Retirement Village Acts led by Small Business Minister Michael McCormack MP, who has put State Governments on notice to clean up their respective Retirement Village Act (RV Act).
Queensland has already passed its Retirement Villages Reform Act and other states are set to follow suit to bring some uniformity to the Acts across the country.
Within the story, Chief Executive of COTA Australia Ian Yates said that such variances are damaging to the retirement village industry as a whole.
“It really is unacceptable that we have hugely varying legislation from state to state. It’s not in the industry’s best interests for this situation to continue,” Mr Yates said.
Reporter Brady Hall concluded by acknowledging that good operators outweigh the bad – a balancing statement that was missing from earlier reports.
“There are many more good retirement villages out there than there are bad ones. But the Federal Minister says if the States don’t clean up their act in clamping down on those bad ones he may intervene,” Mr Hall said.
Seasons Aged Care CEO Nick Loudon said he supports a move to uniformity and a raising of standards across the industry in the hopes that the RV Act can continue to offer an alternative model to residential aged care.
“Seasons Aged Care operate aged care communities under the RV Act. While we operate under the RV Act from an accommodation perspective, our care model is very much in the ‘home care’ vein,” Mr Loudon said.
“We see this model as playing a very important role in the aged care industry and there is great potential in the Seasons Aged Care Model to truly revolutionise (disrupt if you like) aged care in Australia. This can’t happen without the RV Act being flexible enough to allow providers/operators to adapt to the changing needs and expectations of consumers.
“To be successful, to the benefit of customers, operators and government – the Seasons Aged Care Model needs scale and multiple operators, all doing it well and doing well.”
Currently many tens of thousands of older Australians, a very significant proportion of which are already aged 80 years and over, reside in retirement communities. Over the next ten years, many hundreds of thousands more Australians will age beyond 75. The forecast need for new residential aged care beds over the same period is estimated to be in the tens of thousands per year.
According to Mr Loudon, it’s not enough to keep up with the potential demand.
“Currently there is negative growth in residential aged care beds in Australia, with more beds being closed than new facilities being built. Where is all the additional capacity to come from and how will the government afford to fund it? In short, it won’t. It can only come from private sector investment and investor interest in the current residential aged care business model is less than enthusiastic.
“Meanwhile, the population in retirement living communities is ageing, as is the retirement living business model. All those ageing people, all that accommodation capacity and there is currently legislative flexibility in the Retirement Villages Acts across the country to be part of the solution.”