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2019 Highlights

Did you miss the National Retirement Living Summit 2019 at The Star Gold Coast or want to relive the highlights? Check out our summaries below with links to videos, photos, media releases and more.



National Retirement Living Summit in the news:

9.15am - 10.15am

International keynote – How to Raise the Bar

"We are the solution" – Lynne Katzmann, Juniper Communities (USA)

Lynne Katzmann gave the opening keynote on her successful Connect4Life model which her company runs at all its communities, which has slashed reductions of GP attendance and hospital re-admissions among its residents. She used the term “service enriched housing” to describe her service – not one we’ve heard in Australia before but could be applied to many operators here.

Lynne explained prevention is the key to good health, adding Juniper Communities decreased costs and increased wellbeing by implementing integrated care solutions.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Lynne Katzmann, CEO and Founder, Juniper Communities (USA)

Kirrily Lord, General Manager, Retirement Living Operations and Legal Administration

Thirty years ago, Lynne Katzmann founded Juniper Communities, which invests in, develops and manages senior living and long-term care communities in four states across the United States. Delegates heard how this leader of distinction has continued to raise the bar in her business, and her plans for servicing her customers in the 2020s.
10.15am - 10.50am
Morning tea
10.50am - 11.10am

r_PE_videoicon Watch Growthbuilt TVCo can explain why your offer is so great it's worth filling out a form for.


Management Capability Framework Launch

"Creating a capability framework for village managers is part of the (Retirement Living Council) raising the management bar.”

Carolyn Barker gave attendees an overview of the work that went into stage 1 of the new management capability framework for sales professionals and village managers. More information on the framework and the capabilities identified can be found here.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Carolyn Barker AM, Principal Consultant, Anthon Consulting

To fulfil our 8-Point Plan commitment to improve training and professional support for village managers and other frontline staff, we have created a new and robust management capability framework for the retirement living sector. Delegates heard more about the framework, how it will be rolled out and how it will ‘raise the bar’.
11.10am  - 12.00pm

The Code of Conduct, Accreditation and the new Regulatory Environment

"Time is now for action".

Delegates were given a thorough rundown of the Retirement Living Code of Conduct, the new ARVAS accreditation scheme and the ‘third pillar’ of our quality work, the development of a village management capability framework. Members who are at the front line of implementation advised the rest of the industry to approach it “in bite sized chunks” and use the Code firstly as a baseline tool for operational improvements.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

M-L MacDonald. CEO, Masonic Care WA
Kylie Radburn, Director, KRA Consulting
Kim Teudt, General Manager, Retirement Living, Blue Care
Jane Monk,
CEO, Gannon Lifestyle Communities

Nicholas Playoust, Managing Director, AEH Retirement Group

2019 has seen the launch of a new retirement living code of conduct and roll-out of a refreshed accreditation scheme for quality seniors living, but at the same time regulatory changes at a state level are providing significant challenges. Delegates heard how can our industry ‘get ahead of the game’ and remain in control of our future?
12.00pm - 12:40pm

Royal Commission – What does the interim report mean and where do we go now?

"It will start to impact the retirement industry via duty of care” – Patrick Reid, IRT Group.

In the wake of the Aged Care Royal Commission’s scathing interim report into the state of the aged care system, our panellists examined what retirement living operators need to know. Governance of organisations providing age services to senior Australians will be under the microscope as the Royal Commssioners make their recommendations next year.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Anita Courtney, Prinicpal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers
Patrick Reid, CEO, IRT Group
Rachel Lane, Principal, Aged Care Gurus


Lauren Broomham, Editor, DCM Media

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has shone a spotlight on the quality of care being provided to our senior Australians. With the Commission’s interim report to be handed down by 31 October, delegates learned what the initial findings mean for our sector as villages incorporate increasing levels of care and service provision?
12.40pm - 1.40pm
1.40pm - 2.10pm

The Economy, the Housing Market and what’s next

"It’s quite possible that interest rates go even lower” - David Plank, ANZ.

David Plank, Head of Australian Economics, ANZ noted it is a priority for the health of Australia's economy to get out of a low interest rate environment and believes residential construction will be one of the biggest indicators of an economic upturn - with good signs in Sydney and Melbourne. David also promised signs of availability of credit to improve.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

David Plank, Head of Australian Economics, ANZ

The Australian economy has experienced some turbulence in recent years, and a downturn in the residential housing market has led to challenging times for our sector too. Delegates witnessed economic headwinds and how can we ensure a steady supply of investment and supply to meet customer demand?
2.10pm - 2.40pm
Major Sponsor:

What does it all mean?

"Credit will never be as easy to get as it was” - David Plank, ANZ.

A panel of industry leaders joined David Plank for a discussion about the impact of economic conditions on our sector. Operators indicated that regulatory change had made it harder to access lending for further development and discussed strategies for ensuring a steady flow of credit in an uncertain environment.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Dr Brett Robinson, CEO, RetireAustralia
David Thurin AM, Executive Chairman & CEO, Tigcorp
Janice Chia, Founder and Managing Director, Ageing Asia
David Plank, Head of Australian Economics, ANZ 

Rosemary Southgate, Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers

Delegates witnessed first hand prominent industry leaders discussing sector specific issues and solutions with an economic focus.
2.40pm – 3.05pm

Presentation of 2019 Retirement Census

“Verticals have really taken off” - Tony Massaro, PricewaterhouseCoopers

The sixth annual PwC/Property Council Retirement Census provided a snapshot of industry trends, with nearly half of all new retirement living developments incorporating a vertical component. Find out more of the results here.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Tony Massaro, Partner - Real Estate Advisory, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Tony Massaro, Partner - Real Estate Advisory, PricewaterhouseCoopers, presented The PwC/Property Council Retirement Census  - the biggest annual snapshot of the Australian retirement living industry. Now in its sixth year, delegates received a breakdown of the 2019 Census results.
3.05pm - 3.40pm
Afternoon tea
3.40pm – 4.15pm

Home Care Service challenges in 2020 and beyond

"Create diversity in service" - Beverly Smith, Australian Unity.

The panel discussed what the next generation of clients and residents will expect. Beverly positioned “this is the generation that has 14 different varieties of Coke”, so diversity in service offerings will be needed. People will be prepared to pay more than before, but they will be far more demanding about quality.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Geoff Grady, Executive Director and CEO, Aveo Group Limited
Paul Matson, Operations Manager, Retirement Living, Southern Cross Care NSW/ACT
Beverly Smith, Executive General Manager, Residential Communities, Australian Unity

Debbie McClure, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Ryman Healthcare

The integration of care and support services within independent living environments continues to gather pace. Delegates heard how industry leaders in this space coping with funding uncertainty and regulatory change to innovate and provide responsive service to residents?
4.15pm – 5.00pm

How I learned to Raise the Bar through running hotels

"Create differentiation’ – Graham Wilkinson, Generus Living (NZ).

Keynote speaker Graham Wilkinson detailed how he identified gaps in New Zealand's market, and a lack for luxury retirement living. Graham explained how he established his latest venture, using architecture and high-end services to stand out from the competition. He has used his significant experience in hotels to bring in more of a hospitality-based culture – working alongside his GM of Operations -  who also holds a strong history in hotel operations.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Graham Wilkinson, President, Retirement Villages Association NZ and Owner & Director Generus Living Group Limited (NZ)

Emma Plasier, Executive Director, Imagine Projects

Graham Wilkinson has been involved in New Zealand’s retirement living industry for 25 years, while also establishing a suite of successful hotels. Delegates heard how the president of New Zealand’s peak body plans to create villages with “individuality and character” while delivering learnings from running successful hotels.
Closing Address
Some additional information in one line
6.30pm – 7.00pm
Pre-Awards function 
Some additional information in one line
7:00pm - 11:00pm
Premier Sponsor:
Impact Group hubspot

National Retirement Living Awards 2019 Gala Dinner

Awards sponsors: Imagine Projects, Ingenia, Keeley Green Interior Design, nettletontribe, Novas, Programmed, Property Services, Wise Agency. 


Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year

WINNER: Ross Dunning, Rylands of Hawthorn, Arcadia Group

_PE_videoicon Watch Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year Video



Ingenia Communities Award for Future Retirement Living Leader

WINNER: Nidhi Saunders, Lendlease

_PE_videoicon Watch Ingenia Communities Award for Future Retirement Living Leader Video



Imagine Projects Award For Salesperson of the Year

WINNER: Jane Flynn, Stockland

_PE_videoicon Watch Imagine Projects Award for Salesperson of the Year Video



NOVAS Award for Retirement Living Innovation 

WINNER: Serviced Apartments Home Care Brokerage Model, Stockland

_PE_videoicon Watch NOVAS Award for Retirement Living Innovation Video



nettletontribe Award for Design Excellence

WINNER: The Benson, nominated by Demaine Partnerships

_PE_videoicon Watch nettletontribe Award for Design Excellence Video



Keeley Green Award for Interior Design Award for Best Refurbishment

WINNER: Ardency Trebartha, Lendlease

_PE_videoicon Watch Keeley Green Interior Design Award for Best Refurbishment



Wise Agency Award for Marketing Excellence

WINNER: Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle, Ingenia Communities

_PE_videoicon Watch Wise Agency Award for Marketing Excellence Video




8.00am - 9.00am

Networking Breakfast

9.05am - 9.35am 

Raising the bar – lessons from a champion

"Great relationships in work are no different to elite sport’ - Jane Flemming, Live Life get Active Director and Olympian.

Jane Flemming encouraged delegates to see effective managing as being like a coach, providing ‘constructive criticism to an athlete’ in order to aide better performance.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Jane Flemming OAM, Live Life Get Active Director and Olympian 

Kay McGrath OAM, Award-winning Journalist & Presenter, Seven Network Australia

In sports and in business, Jane Flemming has been ‘raising the bar’ every day on the athletics track, for her clients and in the community. Delegates heard techniques Jane's applied to achieve success and the lessons learned along the way.
9.30am - 10.10am

How to raise the bar for residents

“As you start to introduce (the Code and accreditation standards), you need to do it in as open and transparent a way as possible” - Judy Mayfield, QLD RVRA.

Resident leaders from four different states and territories outlined their priorities for industry action in the upcoming year. Village manager skills, transparency in budgeting and despite resolution were all identified, with much potential for residents and industry to work together on mutually beneficial outcomes.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Alistair Christie, President, ACT RVRA
Jim Gibbons, President, NSW RVRA

Judy Mayfield, President, QLD RVRA
Lawrie Robertson, President, VIC RVRA

Mike Zorbas, Group Executive, Policy and Advocacy, Property Council of Australia 

Delegates received an annual temperature check with village resident leaders from across the country. Touching on examples of ‘raising the bar’ across their villages, and what should be the priorities for our industry’s future?
10.10am  - 10.40am

Meet the village managers

“We are seeing a greater ratio of older residents with more chronic health issues in a village” - Janet Fisher, Lendlease.

Award winning village managers took to the stage to share how their job has evolved. A greater diversity in resident demographics and priorities mean a “one size fits all” approach is set to fail – what younger and older residents want and need can vary greatly and these successful managers know how to adapt accordingly.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Ross Dunning, Senior Manager Rylands, Arcadia Group
Janet Fisher, Senior Village Manager, Lendlease
Julie Ramage, Village Manager, RetireAustralia

Andrew Graham
, State General Manager QLD, Programmed Property Services

Every day, retirement village managers are ‘raising the bar’ to ensure village residents have an enjoyable experience. Delegates heard from some former winners of our Village Manager of the Year award as they reflect on their industry journeys and the lessons learned along the way.
10.40am - 11.15am

Morning Tea


11.15am - 11.55am

Revitalising ageing stock and villages

“There’s no redevelopment and there’s no upgrade if you don’t have that resident support” - Karen Armstrong, Leandlease Retirement Living.

From a knock down and rebuild to refreshing an existing space with clever interior design, a whole range of methods for revitalising older retirement villages was presented in this session. What each of these panellists shared though as a strong desire to ensure existing residents were engaged at every step of the journey to ensure they retained their sense of community.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Karen Armstrong, National Planning Manager, Lendlease Retirement Living

Keeley Green, Interior Designer, Director, Keeley Green Interior Design

Justin Lorenz, Head of Community Northern Region, Aveo 

Greg McGee, National Construction Manager, Goldengrove


A key challenge for the sector is ensuring older villages remain vibrant for existing residents and attractive for new sales. Delegates heard from some leading operators as they discuss their own revitalisation projects.

How to service a rapidly evolving customer base

"Effective leadership is based on consistency and authenticity" - Rob Fyfe, Independent Director & Former CEO Air New Zealand & Icebreaker (NZ).

A common sense of identity within a business is far more important than things like a “vision” or a “mission”, Rob explained. During his tenure as CEO at Air New Zealand, his focus on enabling employees to know what was happening at an executive level, was paramount. Rob would pull a shift a month across an area of the business (except the actual flying planes shift, he reassured people!) and also bring in an employee to executive meetings once a month with nothing off limits.

Rob is a big believer that a business that makes mistakes - and admits to them - will go much further than those not willing to take a risk.

_PE_videoicon Watch a 10 minute segment of the session

Keynote: Rob Fyfe, Independent Director & Former CEO Air New Zealand & Icebreaker (NZ) has been the CEO of two of New Zealand’s most iconic brands: Air New Zealand and Icebreaker. Along the way Rob has led transformations from product-focused businesses to people-focused businesses, truly embodying the definition of ‘Raising the Bar’. 
12.45pm - 1.00pm

Industry Priorities - how to continue raising the bar

_PE_videoicon Watch the 2020 location reveal video

Closing this year’s Summit, delegates heard from the Retirement Living Council on the progress of our 8-point plan priorities and wraps up lessons learned from the last two days and how to apply them in 2020 and beyond.

Ben Myers, Executive Director – Retirement Living, Retirement Living Council, Property Council of Australia

1.00pm - 3.00pm

Networking Lunch