Residents of ACT
Sponsoring member:
Pettersson, Michael
Principal petitioner:
Mr John Beagle
No. of Signatures:
Posting Date:
Closing Date:
Referred to Minister:
Responded to:
Information about the Principal Petitioner is available through the sponsoring Member of the Legislative Assembly's office
TO: The Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly
Reason for this Petition

The following residents of the ACT draw the attention of the Assembly. Presently in the ACT, as is elsewhere in all other jurisdictions in Australia, there is no entity that exists where a resident of a Retirement Village who has a problem with the Village operator that has not been resolved, can go to seek a solution. The 2012 ACT Retirement Village Act has provision for a complaint to be lodged with ACT Civil & Administrative Tribunal (ACAT). ACAT can then investigate the complaint, which can take many months to resolve. In the process, after the Hearings at ACAT, it may need to go to the Supreme Court for finalisation. This is a complex, time-consuming and potentially very expensive process. So much so there have only been three complaints to ACAT since 2012. The first has an unknown result, the second lodged in 2015, resulted in substantial compensation being paid to the complainant. The third lodged by myself on behalf of a fellow resident of The Grove Retirement Village, Ngunnawal, was discontinued after Lendlease agreed to rectify the problem, which was the basis of the complaint, on the eve of a Directions Hearing at ACAT. This whole matter had previously been the subject of a complaint to the Human Rights Commission, which would have ultimately referred the matter to ACAT, but I anticipated that and went directly to ACAT. The fact that so few complaints have been lodged throughout Australia against the operators of Retirement Villages through the equivalent of ACAT is incorrectly seen to indicate there are few problems. In this regard it is important to understand why it is there are so few complaints made to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) and the Office of Fair Trading, given NSW has the largest number of RV residents. It is apparent that elderly resident have very little faith in those bodies or don't have the physical, mental, emotional or technological ability to pursue an issue. These small numbers (erroneously) are taken as a signal that there are few problems in the sector overall. In both NSW and Victoria unsuccessful attempts have been made to set up a Retirement Village Ombudsman over many years. The creation of a Retirement Village Ombudsman in NSW is a promise made by the NSW Opposition in the NSW election to be held in March 2023. The ACT has the opportunity to lead Australia in creating a Retirement Village Ombudsman. It can set the standard for other jurisdictions.

Requested Actions

Your petitioners, therefore, request the Assembly to introduce a Bill calling for the creation of a Retirement Village Ombudsman.