The retirement village segment of the property and construction industry in Australia may be set to get a new and powerful voice following an announcement that the Retirement Village Association (RSA) and the Property Council of Australia are in discussions about forming a new advocacy group for the sector.
The two parties announced they were in discussions to form a new body, which would also promote industry self-regulation through a rigorous accreditation scheme.
In a statement, RVA chief executive officer Andrew Giles said talks had been in progress over the last six months to identify opportunities to better represent the industry.
“Discussions have been extremely positive and we expect to be in a position to make further announcements next month,” he says.
Property Council of Australia chief operating officer Ken Morrison said both organisations believe more can be done in terms of advocacy within the sector.
“I think both organisations believe that there is more that we can be doing,” Morrison says. “The Property Council has had aspirations of doing more in this area for some time and the RVA has been on a program of improving the advocacy representation that they provide to the sector. So what we have announced today (Monday) is that we are in talks to look at how the two organisation can work together to deliver on that objective.”
Asked about the key objectives of any new partnership between the two organisations, Morrison says the new body would aim to provide benefits to those operating in the sector through industry accreditation and professional development and networking opportunities.
He notes, however, that advocacy would remain the key area of focus.
“This is a sector which is not well understood by politicians and this is a sector which is going to become increasingly important as Australia’s population ages” Morrison says.
Though there are many details to work through, Giles says the two organisations have agreed on the following core principles:
- A well-resourced leadership group is required to spearhead advocacy and public policy for the retirement living sector.
- Any new structure must be inclusive and unite the broad spectrum of the industry (for-profit and not-for-profit, large groups and single village operators, companies in every region) under a single voice.
- Any new structure would continue the RVA’s positioning as the only national industry association solely focussed on representing the interests of owners, operators, developers and suppliers of retirement communities in Australia.
- Industry self-regulation through a rigorous and relevant accreditation scheme is essential.
- Any new structure should deliver an expanded set of high quality member services to the industry.
Both the RVA and the Property Council will now consult with their members over coming weeks before making further announcements.