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Minters drives retirement overhaul

Minters drives retirement overhaul

Confusion and administrative burdens in the retirement village industry has spurred law firm Minter Ellison to back calls for uniform legislation to regulate the industry.

CONFUSION and administrative burden in the retirement village industry has spurred law firm Minter Ellison to back calls for uniform legislation to regulate the industry. 

The Australian and New Zealand Retirement Villages Legislation Compendium, written by Minter Ellison and endorsed by the Retirement Village Association, covers the different regulatory approaches being taken by national, state and territory governments.

The publication adds weight to calls for uniform legislation to regulate the industry and facilitate increased investment in one of Australasia's key growth sectors.

It covers detailed laws and regulations for the industry, as well as less clearly defined regimes and comparatively little regulation.

Robin Lyons, who leads Minter Ellison's Australasian retirement villages practice, compares the legal treatment of key issues across jurisdictions in Australia and in New Zealand. 

It reveals a “legislative minefield”, he said. "This is the first time that an owner or operator of a village can quickly identify how each legislative regime deals with a particular issue. For those with national or Trans-Tasman retirement living interests, the nuances and differences across states or territories are critical – as infringement of a law or regulation can be costly," Lyons said.

There are close to 2 million people aged 70 and over in Australia, about 9.3 per cent of the population. The publication shows how that within 40 years, that number is expected to triple. The trend is the same in New Zealand. The demographic shift means there will be unparalleled growth in the retirement villages market in both countries in coming years, according to the new publication.

Minters’ Lyons said the retirement living sector has evolved into a significant asset class and that industry stakeholders, including retirement village operators, managers, owners, developers, investors and industry specialists, have advocated for national uniformity in the legislative regimes regulating the industry.

"Minter Ellison has been advising clients in this industry for more than 20 years. We've seen at first hand the confusion that exists and the administrative burden being placed on village owners and operators. 

"A sustainable industry needs consistency and certainty. While our Australian and New Zealand Retirement Villages Legislation Compendium is designed primarily to be a snapshot of legislation across jurisdictions and a quick reference guide for those involved in the industry, we hope it draws attention to the regulatory confusion the industry will continue to face until governments take action."

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