The much anticipated Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the retirement housing sector commences today at Parliament House. Representatives from government, the retirement housing industry and the community sector are scheduled to appear.
The inquiry was established earlier this year after persistent claims that retirement housing in Victoria is too complex, too expensive, and leaves retirees silenced and powerless – with no adequate forum to resolve disputes. The terms of the inquiry are broad, allowing the committee to examine all forms of retirement housing – from retirement villages to residential caravan parks.
The Inquiry has received over seven hundred and fifty written submissions, with many from retirees themselves, indicating a high level of interest and concern amongst Victoria’s retirement community.
Appearances on the first day will include Mr Simon Cohen, (Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria), Ms Deborah Glass, (Victorian Ombudsman), Ms Rosemary Southgate, (Russell Kennedy Lawyers) and Ms Shanny Gordon (Housing for the Aged Action Group).
It is expected that a number of residents of retirement housing will be attending and witnessing the appearances from the gallery.
The inquiry will be heard by the Legal and Social issues Committee, whose eight members are from across the political spectrum, chaired by Liberal MP Edward O’Donohue. Other members include Adem Somyurek (ALP), Inga Peulich (LIB), Nina Springle (GREENS) and Fiona Patten (Sex Party).
The committee will hold hearings until late November and is required to provide a final report to Parliament by the end of March 2017.
Quotes attributable to Gerard Brody, CEO Consumer Action Law Centre:
“We expect that the inquiry will expose the systemically unfair business practices that we have seen in the retirement housing sector. Too many vulnerable elderly Victorians are locked into unfair arrangements, financially exploited with little recourse to fair dispute resolution. We strongly believe that a dedicated Retirement Housing Ombudsman is needed to adequately serve this sector.”
The hearing scheduled for Wednesday, 28 September will commence at 10:00 and is being held in the Legislative Council Committee Room, Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne.
Consumer Action Law Centre will have a spokesperson available for comment at the hearing
The Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action), Council on the Ageing Victoria (COTA), Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG), Justice Connect (Seniors Law) (Justice Connect) and Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria (RRVV) made a submission to the inquiry, available here: https://consumeraction.org.au/parliamentary-inquiry-retirement-housing-sector/