Blue Haven Bonaira sale - FAQs

Blue Haven Bonaira aerial

Council resolved at an extraordinary meeting on 13 October 2022 to sell Blue Haven Bonaira Residential Aged Care Facility, Bonaira Independent Living Units and Blue Haven Community Services, but retain its Blue Haven Terralong Independent Living Units.

At a subsequent extraordinary meeting on 28 February 2023, Councillors unanimously re-confirmed the divestment of all aged care services and assets at the Blue Haven Bonaira site.

The Blue Haven Bonaira site comprises:

  • Blue Haven Bonaira 134-bed Residential Aged Care Facility
  • 59 Independent Living Units (Bonaira ILUs)
  • Matterson Hall
  • Barroul House café
  • Chapel, gym and hair salon
  • Administration offices for Blue Haven Home Care Services and Blue Haven Transport (note: Blue Haven Transport will be divested separately by NSW Transport)

For some time, Council has been considering its role as the largest remaining local government owner-operator of an aged care business in Australia.

We have shared numerous reports with the public, including a letter from the NSW Auditor General, about Council's financial situation. These documents identify the cost blowout from the build of Blue Haven Bonaira, and ongoing operational losses at Blue Haven, are having a severely negative affect on Council’s budget.

There has been much debate over whether, after 40 years of successful delivery of aged care, with recent challenges and changes to the sector brought about by the Aged Care Commission, the pandemic and general economy, it is time for Kiama Council to step out of this business and focus on our core functions as a local government.

Read the full text of the resolution.

Latest news:

May 2024: Kiama Council has announced the buyer for Blue Haven Bonaira is Hall & Prior Aged Care (May 2024)

May 2024: Council has agreed to the broad parameters of the sale and will prepare final contracts

February 2024: Blue Haven divestment moves a step forward

November 2023: Blue Haven divestment update

October 2023: Blue Haven EOI

August 2023: Blue Haven Bonaira request for tender commences

March 2023: Kiama Council Extraordinary Meeting outcomes: Progress on financial issues Kiama Council (

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Council selling Blue Haven Bonaira?

From a financial perspective, Kiama Council is struggling to operate an aged care business and continue to fulfil its core local government responsibilities.

This is made clear in Council’s Budget and Long-Term Financial Plan 2022-23 to 2032-33, endorsed at the extraordinary meeting of Council on 23 May 2022 and unanimously re-confirmed at the subsequent extraordinary meeting which took place on 28 February 2023

A sale of Blue Haven would go towards settling Council’s outstanding debts from the construction of the Bonaira facility.

As well as this, supporting Blue Haven at its current size, while continuing to fund our current high level of Council services to the rest of the community, looks increasingly untenable.

The complexity of the aged care sector due to new reforms and reporting requirements introduced since the Aged Care Commission, plus issues caused by the ongoing pandemic, such as high staff turnover, means Council is struggling to provide the funds and resources to run Blue Haven, which poses a significant risk to Council’s liquidity and solvency.

Blue Haven is a 24-7 business and comprises three main parts:

  • Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF)
  • Independent Living Units (ILUs)
  • Community Services/ Home Care Packages

Explain the tender process Council has followed to divest Blue Haven Bonaira?

Kiama Council has adhered to a competitive and open select tender process to divest Blue Haven Bonaira.

A tender is required to sell Council property under the Local Government Act. This allows for due diligence, probity and conflicts of interest to be appropriately managed.

StewartBrown Advisory, who are highly regarded within the industry and the Department of Health & Aged Care, were appointed to coordinate the tender and divestment process on behalf of Kiama Council. In addition, probity lawyers were appointed to act in Council’s interest and sound tender processes were used to ensure compliance with the Local Government Act.

The process took several months with a result expected in 2024.

The Open Competitive Tender Process has been as follows:

  1. Expression of Interest (EOI) to tender is announced and potential tenderers invited to submit
  2. Once EOI closes, Tender Evaluation Panel (TEP) reviews EOIs and makes shortlist
  3. Probity checks carried out
  4. Shortlisted tenderers invited to put in tender proposals
  5. TEP evaluates tenders against predetermined evaluation criteria
  6. Elected Council considers recommendation from TEP (in confidential report
  7. [additional step in Bonaira divestment] Council resolved to decline all tenders and enter direct negotiations with the preferred tenderer
  8. NEXT STEP: Agreed contract documentation with preferred tender goes to elected Council for approval (in confidential report)
  9. Sale contract documentation signed and exchanged / name of tenderer made public
  10. Settlement and transfer.


The wellbeing and care of Blue Haven residents and their families remains the highest priority of Council during the various stages leading to the sale.


Were Blue Haven Bonaira residents involved in the tender process?

The Department of Premier and Cabinet (Local Government) - Tendering Guidelines for NSW Local Government stipulates: “The development of tendering procedures and implementation of the tendering process are operational matters and therefore should be undertaken by council staff.”

Blue Haven Bonaira residents have been provided with regular updates (see below) as permitted by legislation and the public tender process requirements.

Bonaira residents have also had an opportunity to collect and prepare information that can be passed on to the new purchaser and owner.  

See our Blue Haven Bonaira - sale by selective tender - project page

Council is committed to open communication regarding the public tender process for the sale of Blue Haven Bonaira, in line with legislative requirements.

Ensuring Blue Haven Bonaira residents are fully updated on the progress of the sale of Blue Haven Bonaira is a priority. Our commitment to open and consistent communication is demonstrated as follows:

  • Distributing regular Bonaira Bulletin emails 
  • Offering face-to-face 'Bonaira Banter' sessions to residents
  • Holding regular face-to-face meetings on-site with residents and families, hosted by Kiama Council's Mayor, CEO and executives, where residents’ concerns and questions have been noted, considered and answered
  • Keeping Blue Haven staff up to date
  • Holding regular face-to-face meetings with the Bonaira ILU Residents Committee and Terralong ILU Residents Committee
  • Posting Bonaira Bulletins to residents without access to the internet
  • Ensuring all issues of the Bonaira Bulletin are available in print format at Blue Haven Bonaira Reception
  • Regular news updates to the Blue Haven and Kiama Council websites on aspects of the sale
  • Quarterly Blue Haven Newsletter distributed to all Blue Haven Bonaira and Terralong residents, as well as copies at Blue Haven reception, at Kiama Libraries and via Council's customer service desk.  

The wellbeing and care of Blue Haven residents and their families remains the highest priority of Council during the various stages leading up to and during the divestment process.


Who will Blue Haven be sold to and can Council control who buys Blue Haven?

On 27 May 2024 at an Extraordinary Meeting, Council agreed to sell Blue Haven to the preferred tenderer (contract pending), who was announced later that week as Hall & Prior Aged Care.

Council has honoured its commitment that any sale must be to an approved Aged Care Provider.



What Blue Haven documents are available?

Blue Haven Bonaira development - cash position review

This reviews historical council reports relating to the design, construction and funding of Blue Haven Bonaira between May 2003 and December 2017.

Many of the reports were not made public at the time due to commercial-in-confidence reasons, which have now lapsed.

This review was provided to Councillors at their meeting of 28 June 2022.

Councillors passed the following resolution:

That Council

1. Notes the information regarding the Blue Haven Bonaira development, funding, feasibility, history and resultant cash position.

2. Notes that the documents prepared by Council relating to the history of Blue Haven would have been subject to changing legislative requirements.

3. Whilst undertaking further work on sourcing and releasing information related to the Blue Haven Bonaira Project Build, provide a report to Council.

Council has now published the review and historical reports to provide our community the facts of the planning, funding and building of Blue Haven Bonaira:


Forsyth's report 

Kiama Council in 2022 commissioned a forensic report to give our executive team and the Councillors a full picture of Council’s financial position. Legal advice and the advice of professional officers noted concerns with releasing the full report. Likewise the NSW Audit Office noted concerns, as did the authors of the report, Forsyth’s. 

Kiama Council released an executive summary of the Forsyth's report on 18 July 2023.


How much does Blue Haven owe in loans for construction of Bonaira and when is payment due?

The Blue Haven Bonaira construction cost $105m. We took out a TCorp (NSW Treasury Corporation) loan for $60m to fund part of this. 

At Council's Extraordinary Meeting on February 2023, Council resolved to:

  1. Approve the repayment of borrowings of $30 million to TCorp by 9 August 2023, supported by restricted funds (reserves) of $29.248m, with the balance of funding to be identified in the March QBRS.
  2. Delegate the Chief Executive Officer to negotiate agreeable terms for the renewal of loan funds of $15 million with TCorp.
  3. Seek approval from the Minister for Local Government to renegotiate a loan of $15 million.  

At 30 June 2023, Council announced it had made several repayments and renegotiated terms with TCorp for the remaining $15 million.

What happened to the Blue Haven RADs and ILU entry payment money?

No aged care provider reserves 100% of these funds. Blue Haven has used the Refundable Accommodation Deposits (RADs) and Independent Living Unit (ILU) entry payments in the same way other Aged Care Providers in our area use theirs. With any new aged care or independent living development of significant cost, the first use of RADs and ILU loans is to repay external financiers such as the bank or in our case, TCorp. Cash reserves in the first 10-15 years of that specific development are generally low or tight.

Under legislation, repayment of capital or using RADs for capital purposes is allowed. It is also perfectly legal to only reserve certain amounts of these deposits. The RADs are covered by Council’s Aged Care Prudential Standards Policy.

There is no policy or legislative requirement for ILU reserves under the NSW Retirement Villages Act. The TCorp loan, borrowed for the construction of Blue Haven Bonaira, has a requirement for the restriction of all ILU entry payments at the Bonaira site to be used as payment on the loan.  

Kiama Council has updated its Aged Care Prudential Standards Policy governing not only RADs from the residential aged care service but also a special inclusion for its ILU residents (despite it not being a legislative requirement).

The updated policy requires Blue Haven to hold a minimum amount of cash reserves to assist if required with the refund of any deposit, bond and entry payments falling due in the following 12 months. The policy recommends Blue Haven hold a minimum $4.75m to cover deposits and bonds of residents in the Aged Care Home, and $4.28m for the entry payments of the residents in ILUs. As well as ensuring we have enough available cash or liquidity to cover our refundable deposits etc., the updated policy covers strong requirements for record-keeping, governance and disclosure. The new policy also requires Blue Haven to regularly report to its residents and the Australian Government.

This includes an audited annual Prudential Compliance Statement with information about refundable deposits accommodation bonds as well as other fees and information as required under the Aged Care Act.

The Blue Haven Aged Care Prudential Standards Policy can be found online: 

Are any Blue Haven Services changing or ceasing immediately?

No. Blue Haven Care Services for residents and community will not change immediately.

Blue Haven continues to operate its Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF), Independent Living Units (ILUs) and Home Care as usual and the care and wellbeing of our residents and clients is paramount.

Blue Haven has a long and proud history of providing high-quality aged care services to our community for more than 40 years. This will not change. And it will continue regardless of the sale process.

Once contracts are signed, Kiama Council and Hall & Prior will begin to navigate a transition process and we'll keep our residents, families, staff and community updated every step of the way. 

Are Blue Haven staff still employed? What about staff entitlements, job security, future contracts?

Yes. The resolutions of Council has no immediate change to employment terms for any of our Blue Haven employees. 

Council has previously indicated their sentiment that the good reputation, working environment and conditions for Blue Haven Staff of Kiama Municipal Council be maintained and protected. This will be factored into the tender.

We are aware that in many cases where business are acquired by others there is a new ‘transfer instrument’ that will detail entitlements will be recognised, transferred and maintained for a temporary period or ongoing by the purchaser, other entitlements may be required to be paid out.

Appointment of probity lawyers and engagement with unions are an essential step in ensuring entitlements are managed correctly.



What about land use - can the Bonaira or Terralong sites be used for anything other than aged care?

The Bonaira Aged Care Home and Bonaira Independent Living Units is situated on land zoned low density residential. At Council's Ordinary meeting 20 June 2023, elected Councillors voted to reclassify the land from community to operational, in line with the classification of the Blue Haven Terralong site.  


What will happen to the money or any profits from the sale?

The money from the sale will go towards settling Council’s outstanding debts from the construction of the Bonaira facility.

If additional funds exist, these may go toward reviewing and/or increasing the minimum cash reserves held with respect to RADs and ILU deposits.

Isn’t Blue Haven making a profit for Council?

No. Blue Haven is currently running at a loss of approx. $3.5m per annum (since commencement). (Please see Council’s recent Budget and Long Term Financial Plan in the agenda and minutes from 23 May 2022 for more information.

The UTS Aged Care Sector Report 2021-22 shows that more than 60% of residential aged care homes in Australia are operating at a loss and the financial performance of home care services declined by 26% compared to the previous year.

Further, Blue Haven is lacking asset management plans, which means the costs of maintaining the facilities, replacing beds and equipment and the cost and resources that will be needed to decommission the old facility at Havilah Place have not been properly accounted for in previous budgets. Kiama Council and Blue Haven are currently hard at work to rectify this omission and include it in our 2022-23 and beyond. 

Blue Haven's asset management plan is in the process of being updated and we anticipate it to be finalised by the end of this year. 


Who will be interested buying Blue Haven?

In May 2024, Kiama Council announced Hall & Prior is the preferred tenderer for Blue Haven Bonaira. 

It was previously anticipated that larger aged care providers with multiple sites and therefore operating and economic scale would likely see Kiama as a key strategic acquisition in their portfolio.

According to the UTS Australia Aged Care Sector report“In residential care, where the financial viability issues are most acute, the worst operating losses were reported by homes with lower occupancy and low average ACFI revenue per resident, as well as those that were smaller in size and located in regional, rural and remote communities.”

Not only could an established provider bring much needed funds to the business, they will be aged care experts running at scale. This operating scale can bring benefits in terms of shared knowledge, staffing stability with ability to move staff around sites in times of shortage, and also stability in operations and processes (where standalone providers struggle due to over-reliance on 1-2 key individuals to determine core underlying operating processes, and staff turnover can lead to re-occurring changes to operating processes and work practices.

“Homes that are not able to maintain financial viability are at risk of ultimately being withdrawn from (or transferred within) the sector, although those owned by large providers may continue to operate at a loss if this can be offset by margins earned across other parts of their businesses,” said the UTS report.  


Is Community Services part of the sale? What happens to Home Care Packages?

Community Services is part of the sale, however Community Transport will not.

Clients with Home Care Packages will be informed when the provider is due to change and will be given information as to what this may entail closer to the time.

Kiama Council will be working hard to ensure a seamless transition. 


Is Community Transport part of the divestment?

Blue Haven Community Transport will be divested separately by operator Transport NSW. 

Transport NSW has its own preferred tenderers and the divestment of Blue Haven Transport is likely to occur around the same time as the divestment of Blue Haven Bonaira. 

What will happen to my home if I live at Bonaira ILUs?

Council has stipulated that the sale of Blue Haven Bonaira will be to a registered Aged Care Provider.

More information about exiting residents from residential aged care and legislation can be found online: Exiting residents from residential aged care | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

The NSW Retirement Villages Act is consumer legislation enforced by NSW Fair Trading. The following protections are provided under this Act for Village Residents, which also apply when a Retirement Village is sold to a new owner.

Sec 29 Variation or replacement of village contracts 

The current operator of the Village cannot make an existing Resident sign a new contract. 

Sec 40 Contractual rights of residents against new operator   

After the Village is sold, the existing contract between the resident and the former operator may be enforced against any operator for the time being of the village. Clauses 29 and 40 together mean that Residents will not have to sign a new contract. 

Sec 41 new operator to convene meeting of residents   

A person who proposes to become an operator of an existing retirement village must, at least 28 days before the person becomes the operator, hold a meeting with all residents to report on   

(a) their financial ability to operate the village, and   

(b) their plans for the future management and operation of the village (including any proposed changes)   

Sec 60 Variation in services or facilities provided at village  

The services and facilities provided at the village are not to be varied unless the residents of the village, by a special resolution, consent to the variation.  

If the operator considers that a proposed variation in services or facilities will impose a cost on the operator additional to that allowed for in the approved annual budget, the operator must seek the residents' consent to an amendment to the approved annual budget.   

If residents refuse to consent to the amendment, the operator may appeal to the Tribunal 

Sec 106 Recurrent charges varied otherwise than by fixed formula--exceeding variation in CPI  

The operator must give residents at least 60 days notice before any proposed variation, including an explanation of the reasons for the proposed variation.  

Sec 107 Residents' consent to variation  

A variation does not take effect residents unless consent to the variation, or the Tribunal orders that the variation take effect.   

Sec 108 Determination by Tribunal  

An operator of a retirement village may apply to the Tribunal for (and the Tribunal may make) an order in respect of a proposed variation of recurrent charges if residents do not consent to the proposed variation.   

The Tribunal may--   

(a) order that the proposed variation is to take effect, with or without modification, or   

(b) order that the proposed variation is not to take effect.   

The Tribunal may have regard to the following in reaching their decision--   

(a) the general market level of recurrent charges paid at similar retirement villages in the locality of the retirement village concerned or a similar locality,   

(b) the level and cost of services and facilities provided in the budget  

(c) any proposed variations to which the residents have consented,   

(d) the cost of general services required to be provided by the operator,   

(e) the frequency and amount of past variations   

For further information about the Retirement Villages Act please visit: Retirement Villages Act 1999 No 81 - NSW Legislation

Does the NSW Retirement Villages Act 1999 give the new purchaser permission to close Blue Haven Bonaira after a certain time?

The NSW Retirement Villages Act 1999 sets out particular rights and obligations of residents and operators of retirement villages and establishes mechanisms for the resolution of certain disputes between residents and operators of retirement villages. The full Act can be accessed here.

What will happen to the road that runs through Blue Haven Bonaira when it is sold?

The entrance road to Blue Haven Bonaira is completely contained within Lot 2 DP 1215276. Therefore, it is a private road that is there to serve as a driveway only. If Blue Haven Bonaira is sold as is, it will be the responsibility of the property owner to maintain this entrance road. As it is effectively private property (and not a public road), enforcing road or parking rules is also not possible.

Is Barroul House heritage listed?

Barroul House is a heritage listed item in the Kiama Local Environmental Plan 2011 (Listing No: I81) here

Will the repairs identified by Blue Haven Bonaira residents be fixed prior to the sale?

Council is aware of the repairs and defects rectification required at Blue Haven Bonaira and thanks its residents for providing a consolidated list of requirements.  

An external Project Manager from Trademark Consulting is working closely with Richard Crookes Constructions (the builder of Blue Haven Bonaira), providing monthly updates to Council which are then shared with the Blue Haven Bonaira ILU Residents Committee.

Progress is being made and Council thanks residents for their patience.

What if I have more questions or feedback?

Please email any questions or further feedback to

Other general info

Kiama Council separated the ledgers of Council and Blue Haven from July 2022. Prior to this, there was not a clear delineation of cash reserves between the two. From July 2022 we have a clearer indication of the financial performance of Blue Haven and also the use of Resident Deposits, this latter issue is a clear and specific requirement under the Aged Care Act and permitted uses under the Fees & Payments Principles.

In Council’s Budget and Long Term Financial Plan 2022-23 to 2032-33, you will see the figure for ‘bonds and deposits’ is zero. Because these are constantly in flux, it’s common practice not to put a figure in this column, due to the assumption that any bond or deposit we have to repay for an outgoing resident will be recouped within a very short time, when the unit, room or bed is sold to an incoming resident. 

Our RADs (refundable accommodation deposits) and Independent Living Unit (ILU) monies are accounted for in Payables as a liability. 

Deposits are accounted for as both Current and Non Current Payables in the Liabilities section of the Balance Sheet. 

As at the end of the 2021 Financial Year, the RAD balance was $29.533m and the ILU amount was $92.519m.




 Last updated on 20/06/2024