Boarding house residents will receive a better deal
THE NSW Government has announced reforms to the boarding house sector that will deliver greater protections to some of the state's most vulnerable residents.
The reforms will be included in a Draft Exposure Bill that will be provided to key stakeholders for feedback, before legislation is introduced to Parliament later this year.
Under the system weÕve inherited from Labor, Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) has an obligation under the Youth and Community Services Act, to license and regulate boarding houses that accommodate people with a disability.
However, this legislation is fundamentally flawed because the regulatory powers are unclear, the penalties for non-compliance are totally inadequate and it doesnÕt provide clear rights for local residents.
The Liberal Government is determined to put the appropriate legislation in place to protect and uphold the rights of vulnerable residents, whether they are people with a disability, students, or those on low incomes.
There are no occupancy rights for residents living in boarding houses, such as the right to live in clean premises and be given notice of eviction, nor are there clear responsibilities for operators or residents on how the property should be maintained. Our reforms will address these areas.
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THE INTRODUCTION of a registration system for NSW boarding houses will ensure vulnerable people are no longer living in unlicensed facilities where they have no rights.
Our proposed changes include the introduction of a registration system for NSW boarding houses, occupancy rights for residents, standards for boarding houses, increased penalties for non-compliance with the regulations as well as increased powers of entry by law enforcement officers.
Our changes which provide insufficient disincentives for operators who mistreat or neglect vulnerable residents.
Our penalties will dramatically increase with fines of $11,000 for individual operators or $22,000 for corporations if they breach the regulations.
A registration system will be put in place and a website developed containing information on occupancy rights and standards for operators.
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THE NSW Liberals are committed to delivering on boarding house reforms, unlike the former Labor Government.
There have been calls for an overhaul of how boarding houses are regulated for a decade and the failure to act by the former Labor Government is another example of their incompetence during 16 years in office.
Key stakeholders will be consulted on the proposed changes to the legislation before it goes to Parliament later this year.
The Liberal Government is determined to continue its efforts in identifying ways to improve the conditions vulnerable people in NSW are living in, as well as enhance the viability of the boarding house sector.
Protecting the rights of vulnerable people is a priority of our Government.
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