The role of an ombudsman is to be the policeman (or woman) of the retirement village sector.
In Victoria, Labor is in power and resisting the appointment of an ombudsman. They have an election in one month’s time, 24 November. The Liberals say they will appoint an ombudsman if they win.
NSW goes to the polls on 23 March next year. The Liberals are in power and last week the Labor Opposition Leader Luke Foley promised to appoint a retirement village ombudsman if elected.
At the moment Liberals are planning to announce a position they call an ‘ambassador’ in the next week. It is uncertain what this role is but it will have less power than an ombudsman.
Labor leader Luke Foley said the ombudsman would consider disputes related to the Australian Consumer Law, Retirement Villages Act 1999, Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013, and associated regulations, and report systemic problems in the sector to Parliament.
What this all demonstrates is that if you are in government you don’t want more regulation to administer. If you are not in government you will say anything to win the day.