One state government has introduced a comparison website for retirement villages, giving people a bird’s-eye view of all the options available to them for the first time. Could other states follow suit?
The Queensland government has launched a comparison website that allows people to compare the state’s 330 retirement village operators and more than 32,000 retirement villages to quickly ascertain information on contracts and exit entitlements, finances and legal advice.
The Compare Retirement Villages (CRV) website also lists details on each village’s services, facilities and location in relation to shops, public transport and hospitals.
Queensland minister for communities and housing Leeanne Enoch said the site complements previous consumer protection reforms to provide greater security and certainty for seniors considering retirement village living later in life.
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“Through these reforms, it is mandatory for the state’s 330 retirement village operators, who oversee more than 32,000 retirement village units, to register Village Comparison Documents for public access,” she said.
“Our new website provides access to this information for seniors and their families in an accessible, easily digestible format.”
Judy Mayfield, president of the Association of Residents of Queensland Retirement Villages, welcomed the launch.
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“I found the website a really simple, user-friendly tool for people looking at retirement options and really useful for helping to make a decision about moving into a village,” she said.
What about residents of other states?
Unfortunately, it’s only Queensland residents, or those wishing to move there, who can benefit from the CRV site. No other states have a similar program, and no government-run option exists at a national level.
For now, it’s left to consumer websites such as Villages.com.au, Comparevillages.com.au and CHOICE to pick up the slack for residents of other states.
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And while they do an admirable job, the lack of a nationally coordinated comparison site leaves the majority of older Australians at a disadvantage when planning for one of the most important periods of their lives.
Even leaving it to the states seems like a guarantee that some people will still miss out, so an initiative from the federal government would be welcome.
With comparison websites for just about every other product or service out there, it makes sense that for something as important as where you’re going to spend your retirement there is as much easily accessible information as possible.
Have you tried the Compare Retirement Villages website? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments section below.