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COVID safe practices in our villages – a survey report
A brief online survey was conducted end of August 2021 on village COVID safe practices. Thank you to all the respondents.
Please click here for the survey report.
RRVV Lobbying – a presentation support tool for meetings with members of parliament
Thank you for the efforts being made to contact members of parliament about the review of the Retirement Villages Act. We encourage you to continue this important activity. Below is a presentation that can assist you. It provides slides and speaker notes that can help you structure the meeting and decide what to cover. You may want to simply select the most relevant slides to print out and take to a meeting, but you can also edit slides and notes to reflect your own experience.
Please click here for the presentation support tool.
RRVV RLO Meeting – held on 22/7/21
The transcript to the July 2021 RLO (Resident Liaison Officers) Meeting is available here.
Research – How effective is information disclosure?
How effective is information disclosure about retirement villages? Does the information help retirees make informed choices?
In this insightful video, several typical formats of information were tested with actual retirees in Australia, to see how well they work in real life. Click here to see the video.
(This research was conducted by Robert Drake and Timothy Kyng of Macquarie University. A link to the full written report is also provided here).
RRVV Lobbying – knowing who to contact
Use this spreadsheet to find your electorate and members. Click Here to download the spreadsheet (a Downloads box should appear on your screen with an option to open the file).
Instructions after opening the file:
1) Click on the “Retirement Villages” Tab.
2) Reading across your Village row, find your Upper House Electorate, your Lower House Electorate, and your Lower House Member details.
3) Knowing your Upper House Electorate, refer to Table 2. Find all the members listed for that Electorate.
If you already know your electorate, you can also refer to the following website for member information:
RRVV Submission has been lodged for review of Retirement Villages Act
A big thank you to everyone who lodged a submission and a special thank you to those of you who provided feedback on drafts of RRVV’s submission, case studies, helpful material and guidance.
A copy of our submission is available here
RRVV 2020 Annual General Meeting – held on 18 January 2021
The President’s Report for the 2020 AGM is available here
Increase in Service Fees for 2021-2022 Financial Year
It is that time of year again when operators of retirement villages propose service fees (described as maintenance charges in the Retirement Villages Act 1986 (the Act)) for the coming financial year.
An operator may only increase the service fee by more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) with the approval of the residents of the village or the village’s residents’ committee (see below)
Section 38AA of the Act provides the formula for calculating the CPI increase by reference to the annual increase in the All Groups Consumer Price Index for Melbourne published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). You calculate the CPI increase by dividing the sum of the index numbers for each quarter in the latest year by the sum of the index numbers for each of the quarters in the previous year.
The ABS does not release the June quarter CPI figures until mid-July. Hence, most operators use the index numbers for the year ending 31 March. Operators do this to calculate the new fees applicable from the beginning of the following financial year (1st July). This practice does not align perfectly with the Act. RRVV advocates changing the Act to align it with established practice.
The table below shows the relevant index numbers for the years ended 31 March 2020 and 2021 necessary to calculate the CPI increase if your operator proposes to increase your village’s service fee from 1 July 2021.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 6401.01 released 28 April 2021.
The total of the index numbers for the year to 31 March 2021 (469.6) is 0.79% higher than the corresponding numbers for 31 March 2020 (465.9).
Section 38(5) of the Act allows operators to increase service fees by more than 0.79% without residents’ approval only where that increase is the result of increases in:
- Rates, taxes or charges in respect of retirement village land or the use of a retirement village land levied under an Act or subordinate instrument; or
- Salaries or wages paid in accordance with an award made by a Commission, Tribunal, Board or other body under- (i) An Act other than this Act: or (ii) A Commonwealth Act, If the salaries or wages are paid to a manager or a person employed in connection with the retirement village.
If you would like a sample calculation demonstrating how Section 38(5) works in conjunction with the CPI increase, please email email@example.com.
Online Retirement Village Cost Calculator
Macquarie University has made available an online retirement village calculator to enable retirees to estimate and compare the costs of moving into a retirement village.
The calculator, developed by Associate Professor Tim Kyng of the Faculty of Business & Economics, estimates the relative costs of different retirement village contracts – allowing potential residents to compare contracts and their features.
Professor Kyng developed the calculator after having his own frustrating experience while assisting his mother in choosing between retirement villages.
The retirement village calculator project was funded by a grant from Financial Literacy Australia.
To find out more, click on the button:
Thank you to those members who told us about their views and experiences of their electricity suppliers, in response to RRVV’s request. This information was sought to provide input to a number of consultation meetings held with the Essential Services Commission during 2018, regarding the regulation of electricity sellers in embedded networks in retirement villages, apartment buildings, caravan parks, etc. Members’ responses indicate that about half the retirement village residents in Victoria are supplied with electricity by village operators via so-called “embedded networks”.
The commission recently introduced new legislation to ensure that village residents and other customers supplied via embedded networks have similar protections to other energy consumers. The new rules require village operators who sell electricity to residents to:
- make sure they get a resident’s consent to an electricity selling arrangement
- provide a separate bill with specific details to each resident
- ensure that information provided to residents is clear
- offer assistance to residents who have difficulty paying electricity bills
- follow rules for disconnecting residents including those with life support equipment.
The commission has published a fact sheet which you can download: Information for Customers Living in Retirement Villages. RRVV advises members who are supplied with electricity by their village operator – via an ‘embedded network’ – to check with their manager that the village is registered with the Essential Services Commission for the supply and sale of electricity.
On the important subject of electricity prices, research conducted by RRVV indicates that residents in villages with embedded networks pay on average the same rate per kWh as retail customers in the same area but less in daily supply charges. Details on page 7 of the December 2018 edition of the RRVV Newsletter.