Boarding house legislation passes Upper House
23 October 2012
Boarding house residents will have occupancy rights for the first time and facilities will have to be registered under legislation which tonight passed the NSW Legislative Council.
NSW Minister for Disability Services Andrew Constance said the Boarding Houses Bill 2012 is an historic reform aimed at protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
"I welcome the passage of this important Bill through the Parliament which upholds the rights of boarding house residents, whether they are people with disability, people with mental illness, students, or those on low incomes," Mr Constance said.
"There have been repeated calls for an overhaul of the boarding house industry, and I am proud that the O'Farrell Government in 18 months has done what the previous Labor government couldn't do in 16 years."
The NSW Boarding Houses Register will be in place by January 2013. Operators will also face increased penalties for non-compliance, and there will be increased powers of entry for officials to do inspections.
"This Bill gets the balance right in terms of maintaining the viability of the boarding house industry, while ensuring safeguards are in place for residents so that people live in clean and well run accommodation," Mr Constance said.
"Unfortunately, some boarding house residents have been subjected to abuse and neglect, highlighted in three reports from the Ombudsman."
"It's time we corrected the injustices within the industry and that's exactly what this Bill aims to do."