Retirement Living Alert: Commencement of Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2018 (NSW)

15 February 2019

Publications

The Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2018 (NSW) (Amendment Act) was assented to on 28 November 2018. It is the first legislative response to the Greiner review of the retirement village sector in NSW. Our summary of the main changes being introduced by the Amendment Act is available here. The Amendment Act does not commence until a later date appointed by proclamation.

On 11 February 2019, a handful of sections of the Amendment Act were proclaimed to commence. The rest of the Amendment Act is still not in force. The main focus of the sections that have commenced  is to enable various regulations to be made, including the following.

Currently, there are no new Regulations prescribed to activate these new provisions.

Rules of conduct for operators

Under new Division 5A of Part 6 of the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (NSW) (Act), Regulations may prescribe rules of conduct for village operators with respect to professionalism, training, competencies, performance and behaviour in connection with the management or operation of retirement villages. This includes standards of training of staff, honesty and fairness, conduct in relation to the marketing of retirement villages and the use of terminology, internal dispute resolution measures.

Provision, sharing and publication of information about retirement villages

A new section 197B of the Act has been added that enables Regulations to make provision with respect to:

  • the provision of relevant village information to Fair Trading;
  • the publication of relevant village information; and
  • the exchange and sharing of relevant village information by government agencies.

The relevant village information includes enforcement or disciplinary action taken against the operator, complaints received about a village or the operator, complaints handled internally by the operator, village contracts or pricing, demographic information about residents and staff of a village, among other matters.

Mediation of disputes

Amended section 203 of the Act enables Regulations to make provision for the mediation of disputes arising under the Act, including the circumstances where mediation will be mandatory, payment for mediation sessions, participation in mediation sessions and their conduct.

Offences

Amended section 203 of the Act also enables Regulations to create offences punishable by a higher penalty in the case of a corporation, being a penalty up to 100 penalty units (currently $11,000). In all other cases, the maximum penalty which may be prescribed by the regulations remains at 50 penalty units (currently $5,500).

Further information will follow on material developments.

For more information, please contact:

Arthur Koumoukelis | Partner | +61 2 8248 3437 | akoumoukelis@tglaw.com.au

Maryna Roganova | Senior Associate | +61 2 8248 5881 | mroganova@tglaw.com.au