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Government must act on retirement village exploitation and consider national regulation

The Four Corner’s story on Monday night that revealed distressing exploitation of older Australians in retirement villages should trigger quick and meaningful action by Government, Australian Greens spokesperson on Ageing Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“It is extremely distressing that older Australians are being targeted. This has been going on for some time and it is disturbing that recommendations of a parliamentary committee report that advised on how to prevent this exploitation ten years ago were not acted on. Unfortunately those recommendations are now mostly redundant because of changes in aged care and federal legislation.  

“It is clear there must be national action, including regulation. The current status quo is not working and people should not be taken advantage of in their later years. 

“The Government must immediately look to address exit fees and complicated contracts that are clearly intended to bamboozle the elderly. The Government must also look at the interaction between the aged care legislation and retirement villages because clearly people are concerned they will be forced into situations they do not want. 

“The Government needs to investigate whether AVEO and other providers operate with the same sales-based commission-led culture that has created so many scandals in the banking sector. This is why the Australian Greens have long been calling for housing to be regulated as a financial product so that ASIC has the powers to crack down on anything that looks like a scam. 

“After a life time of work and in retirement the last thing anyone needs is a system that is set up to exploit. I urge the Minister and Government to act, the current legislative framework is a mess. We can't say this is too hard, it needs to be resolved”.

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