Tabarefta debate heats up

Tempers flared amongst attendees of a public meeting concerning the Taberefta aged homes in Tailem Bend.

FEEDBACK: SA Best party leader Nick Xenophon and Hammond candidate Kelly Gladigau listening to an attendee at a public meeting held in the Coorong District Council chambers on Monday. Photo: Nick Grimm.

FEEDBACK: SA Best party leader Nick Xenophon and Hammond candidate Kelly Gladigau listening to an attendee at a public meeting held in the Coorong District Council chambers on Monday. Photo: Nick Grimm.

Arguments threatened to break out between several members in attendance during debates over the operations at the Tailem Bend aged homes facility. 

The meeting was chaired by SA Best candidate for Hammond Kelly Gladigau and party leader Nick Xenophon, who hosted around over 50 people in the Coorong District Council chambers on Railway Terrace on Monday. 

Ms Gladigau said she called for the meeting after having been approached by the family of Tabarefta residents who had raised concerns about the facility. 

She was seeking community feedback over issues she raised recently about “retrospective and secretive contracts handed to residents by management.” 

“The new board has stopped all community involvement at general meetings and lifetime agreements have been revoked without consultation and moved to a five year agreement,” she said.

Member for Hammond and chair of the Taberefta board Adrian Pederick, who was not in attendance, called Ms Gladigau’s claims “ill-informed” and said they were creating “unnecessary concerns.” 

“I know for a fact that all of this is being stirred up by an extreme minority of residents at the homes,” Mr Pederick said. 

He said claims of “hiding behind” the Office for the Ageing (OFTA) were outlandish.

“We’re working very closely with the Office to become compliant after around 30 years of non-compliance,” Mr Pederick said. “We have a candidate who seems to not have a basic understanding of legislation, Mr Xenophon should know better and we have a Coorong council endorsement in agreeing to host the meeting.” 

Mr Pederick said he doubted that the council chambers were the only facility available to host the meeting.

In a letter distributed to all Taberefta residents, OFTA’s retirement villages unit team leader Vanessa Clarke said a significant amount of misinformation had been circulating in the village, and she wanted to provide residents with correct information about the offices’ work with the board. 

“It has become apparent that Taberefta has, over the years, confused and combined the requirements of the Retirement Villages Act and the Associations Incorporated Act,” she said.

Ms Clarke said the office was assisting the Taberefta board to identify areas of non-compliance and would aid in remedying the breaches. 

“Many past practices will have to change and this may be uncomfortable for some residents, as governance moves into a more professional footing,” she said.

“As the regulator we will assist Taberefta to be prepared and become compliant with both the current and incoming legislation.”

Ms Clarke added that the RV Act did not allow for permanent tenure for renters and prohibits a lease of greater than five years without ministerial approval.

“The new legislation further clarifies that a person who has such a lease does not become a resident of the village and must be subject to the Residential Tenancies Act,” she said.

Ms Gladigau said residents were not being consulted on board decisions. 

“There is no transparency from the current board of management,” she said. “Residents aren’t being consulted, they can’t communicate with the board and that needs to change.”

Mr Pederick disagreed, saying he was always available to listen. 

“I said at the last resident committee AGM that everybody in the electorate has access to my mobile number and I’ve never had a single call regarding any Taberefta resident concerns,” he said.

“Anyone representing the resident committee can come and speak at our board meetings and we would gladly listen.”  

Ms Gladigau proposed the Tailem Bend Community Centre take over administration of Tabarefta, but a spokesperson from the centre said their board were undecided whether it would be willing to take over from the current Taberefta board.

For further rights and obligations information, contact the Office for the Ageing Retirement Villages Team – 8204 2420.