THE NSW Labor opposition would establish an ombudsman to deal with retirement village and land lease community (residential parks) disputes if it wins the next election.
Labor leader Luke Foley said the ombudsman would provide greater protection for the almost 90,000 people in NSW living in the retirement communities.
Earlier this year the Berejiklian government announced a "package of reforms", including the introduction of a mandatory code of conduct and a retirement village ambassador. This followed an inquiry into the sector by Kathryn Griener.
However, Mr Foley said this wasn’t enough.
“Retirees have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Berejiklian Government’s announcement of a retirement village ambassador who would be responsible for enforcing a code of conduct – of which the scope and powers are yet to be revealed.
“That is despite the Greiner Report recommending better dispute resolution, even stating that there is broad support for a retirement village ombudsman after it was suggested in 40 submissions and was raised at most of the communities forums.”
The NSW Government commissioned the Greiner report following a Four Corners expose into the retirement village sector.
Mr Foley said the ombudsman would consider disputes related to the Australian Consumer Law, Retirement Villages Act 1999, Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013, and associated regulations.
“The Ombudsman will also report to the NSW Parliament identifying systemic problems in the sector. The role will be critical in ensuring good outcomes for residents into the future.”
Jim Gibbons president of the Retirement villages Residents Association said the proposal was “an innovative concept that might bring great benefit to retirement and land lease village residents”.