News & Events

From the CEO – telling a different story

August 18, 2017

As you will know there has recently been negative media about some retirement living providers. Inevitably there has been a ripple effect across the wider community. Here at OCAV we been serving older Victorians in need for almost 150 years. We are committed to best practice and processes in our efforts to ensure all residents receive the best of care and service. Our open-door policy with residents goes a long way to halt potential concerns early, as do the regular residents’ committee meetings.

I was pleased to be a part of a contingent of retirement living and aged care providers who met recently with the Federal Minister for Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt. We briefed him about the need for choice, transparency, and our commitment to ensure consumer confidence in the sector is not further eroded.

Choice for older people when it comes to ageing either in their own home or in a retirement village setting is critical. We are living in an affordable housing crisis which cuts across all Victorian society.

In Melbourne, we see suburbs that once had a vibrant mixture of working and middle-class families being hollowed out by massive real estate speculation and turned into the investment properties of the super-rich. Young families are either being forced to rent or reduced to mortgage poverty so they can be close to jobs. In rural areas, older Victorians are finding it hard to downsize because the waiting lists for retirement villages are impossibly long.

At OCAV, as you will read in this newsletter, we have just begun building new units at Leith Park to tackle our own wait list. We are also investing our own funds into new units at Rushall Park, and we have a vision of developing a fifth village.

This investment comes at a time of enormous change for the retirement living and aged care sectors. New reforms – through the review of the 2013 Living Longer, Living Better legislation – are being considered at a Federal government level, along with reviews of retirement living legislation at a State level. Next year promises to be a critical time for the industry.

Decisions made at the Federal level are likely to shape the aged care system for older Australians, governments and providers for many years, and it is vital that we get it right for the future.

We have been robust in our discussions with government as well as through submissions for the need for stability and certainty around current and ongoing funding. Our main message to politicians is not to lose sight of the people who cannot afford to pay market rates for retirement and aged care living.

OCAV’s financial model is unique, in that we are committed to provide approximately 50 per cent of our housing to residents who cannot afford to contribute a one-off, means-tested donation on entry. Our model is an exemplar of how the system can protect and provide for older people in need.

We shall continue advocating for certainty, and an end to budget cuts which are undermining confidence in aged care. While aged care is funded by the federal government, it is delivered by the private sector, both profit and not for profit. Cuts of $1.7 billion over four years have damaged investor confidence and undermined the ability of the industry to provide new beds.

For the first time in a long time, we now have the opportunity through this reform to review achievements to date and to set a path for the future that provides confidence to both consumers and providers. Let us not waste it.

Volunteering is important to Deb, enabling her to contribute in the aged care sector. “I love it when the residents get downright cheeky. I love it when we get a bit too loud with laughing."

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