New laws to target deception in retirement living
THE law has changed following the NewsMail's coverage of the difficulties faced by residents of the aged care facilities in the region.
As part of that coverage, the NewsMail spoke to one woman who said she had been caught up in hidden rules and regulations at a retirement village that made it hard for her to leave.
Now, a raft of law changes have been passed with bipartisan support in state parliament overnight.
Burnett MP and opposition housing and public works spokesman Stephen Bennett said it was past time for amendments to be pushed through after many reviews of the Act including an LNP review in 2012.
"Given our rapidly aging population and increasing need to provide more aged care and nursing home facilities, these issues need close attention to ensure regulations are working so that elderly and vulnerable Queensland and their families are not being ripped off by unscrupulous operators," he said.
"While residents might say we haven't gone far enough, and operators might say we have gone too far - I believe we've found a good balance that protects our most vulnerable and elderly Queenslanders and still supports a healthy retirement environment.
"These sensible reforms will go a long way towards a fix."
Mr Bennett thanked locals who approached him to voice their frustrations.
"We have listened to those concerns and acted in their best interests to ensure the system is fairer for our senior citizens," he said.
- A new two-stage, 21-day contract process focused on transparency
- Banning deceptive documents
- Transparency around fees
- Exit entitlements to be paid to residents within 18 months of leaving
- Funding for advocacy
- Distinction between "reinstatement" and "renovation" works and who is responsible for costs
- More frequent new valuations on unsold units
- Clarity around retirement home redevelopment
- Manufactured home parks limited to one rent increase per year and transparency of market rent reviews and no rent increases outside agreement terms
- New dispute resolution process for residents in manufactured homes
- No more meter reading or utility administration fees in manufactured home parks