The Issue

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What is this about?

On 30 July 2017, the NSW Government announced a four-point plan for retirement villages in NSW aimed at putting consumers first. This included commissioning an independently chaired Inquiry into the sector. The Inquiry, chaired by Ms Kathryn Greiner AO, provided its final report to Government on 15 December 2017, making 17 recommendations for improvements to the sector. One recommendation was that the Government increase transparency around the maintenance of village assets by considering implementing reforms to require operators to develop an asset register.

Asset management plans

The Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2018 (the Amendment Act) requires village operators, in accordance with the regulations, to prepare and keep up to date an asset management plan for the village’s major items of capital and, to make the plan available to current and prospective residents to increase transparency.

The Amendment Act also provides the regulation-making power to set requirements to prepare and revise asset management plans and how the plans will be in place. This includes information to be recorded in these plans, including:

  • costs associated with maintaining or replacing capital items
  • why costs associated with maintaining or replacing capital items increase or decrease
  • how often costs for capital items are incurred
  • the expected lifespans of capital items and expected maintenance and replacement requirements.

What has happened so far?

On 28 November 2018, NSW Parliament passed the Amendment Act in order to implement the majority of the Inquiry’s recommendations. The Act has not yet commenced.

The progression of this reform contributes to the Government’s commitment to ensuring transparency around maintenance and costs of villages’ assets and reducing “bill shock” for residents faced with unexpected costs on often limited incomes. The Greiner report discussed this issue extensively and highlighted it as an area that demands change.

This reform also builds upon the other changes made under the Amendment Act to better protect retirement village residents and their families.

Next steps

The NSW Government is now seeking feedback from the retirement villages sector and the community about how these commitments should be implemented in the Regulation. This feedback will be used to help shape the reforms and ensure that they reflect the needs of residents and village operators.

The discussion paper outlines the general requirements for an asset management plan including provisions for maintenance, repair and replacement of assets and is now available for public consultation.

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