Promise broken to protect retirement village residents from paying certain fees

What they promised

Owners and operators of retirement villages would not be able to pass on costs to residents that are not directly related to operating a village


What they say now

50% of the costs can be passed on to residents


30 Sep 2014 - Amendments to the Retirement Villages Act and Regulations came into effect from 1 April 2014. Contrary to commitments given by the Liberal Government to protect residents from having to pay costs not directly related to the operating of the village, operators will be able to pass on 50% of certain costs..

The commitments given in 2012 to protect residents from paying cost not directly related to the running of a village were given by the Minster for Commerce Hon Simon O'Brien in Parliament when introducing the Bill.                                 

Finally, there are provisions for regulations to prohibit certain fees and charges being recouped from residents, such as certain legal costs, that do not relate to the operation of a village.  Second Reading Speech 14/8/12

During the debate in Parliament the Minister further elaborated on the fees and charges this could relate to. 

The sorts of costs that we intend to prohibit from being passed on to residents under this provision are basically costs that are not related directly to the operation of a village. Those costs would include certain administering body legal costs, such as costs awarded against an operator by the State Administrative Tribunal or other courts. Other possible examples include fees for membership of industrial or professional associations, and travel costs. These are discretionary costs that the operator can recoup through other means, such as tax returns or whatever. They are certainly not the sorts of costs that should be passed on to residents. Second Reading Speech resumed p20

When the Act and Regulations were proclaimed in April 2014 it was revealed that contrary to these assurances, that Regulation 11 (o)(3) permits the owners of the retirement village to pass on 50% of certain costs not directly related to the running of the village on to residents.  These include costs associated with accreditation and membership of an industry body.  

WA Labor sought to disallow the regulation in Parliament.  A Disallowance Motion was debated on the 24 September 2014.  In speaking to the disallowance motion the Hon Kate Doust highlighted the following issues: 

  • The additional cost are not directly related to the operation of the village
  • That there is no cap on the charges so the final figure is not known and can change
  • The Barnett Government had made a commitment that this would not occur.

However all of the members of the Liberal/National Government voted against the disallowance motion, allowing the regulation to remain.