31 Oct Calling all Pollies?
Calling all Pollies?
Sunday saw the state go into care-taking mode after the Palaszczuk government set the 25th of November as the election date.
As we have spoken about many times Strata reform in QLD is still in limbo having progressed at a snail’s pace over the last 3 years of government partly due to its enormity and partly due to prior election promises.
With final recommendations now closed the scene is set for a newly appointed political party to grab the reigns and deliver on this 4 year review. It’s now time for the ALP, LNP, Greens and One Nation to show their hand and commit to the over 1 million people representing 25% of the QLD population who live, own or rent in Strata units across QLD.
Each party needs to respond to key election priorities from the Strata sector and give clear commitment to the changes and reform required to archaic 20 year old laws.
There needs to be a clear election promise to act and act early in the new political term, if elected, on the following Strata sector priorities;
SELF–GOVERNING STRATA COMMUNITIES
Enable strata communities to make by-laws on towing, pets and smoking that bind all residents equally.
Implementing draft legislation based on the recommendations received on the 2017 government Property Law Review Options Paper Recommendations | Body corporate governance issues: By-laws, debt recovery and scheme termination.
MODERNISE ARCHAIC ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS
Enable strata communities to communicate and vote electronically including the serving of general meeting notices (whether by amending the BCCM Act or the Electronic Communications Act)
Amend minimum spend for committees to a more reasonable amount that enables committees to act responsibly and timely without the need for a general meeting when expenditure exceeds the committee’s spending limit.
Implementing draft legislation based on the recommendations received on the 2017 government Property Law Review Final Recommendations Procedural issues under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997,
Abolishing the need for common seals for bodies corporate,
Strengthen disclosure scheme by introducing mandatory checks at time of Development Approval at Council level.
STRENGTHENING CONSUMER PROTECTION
Broaden the statutory insurance scheme offered by QBCC to specifically include buildings three Storeys and higher,
Implement more accountability for building integrity by tightening the requirements for building products and the standard of installation,
Save consumers unnecessary expenses by for example amending Section 79 of the standard module, and corresponding provisions of the other modules, to require an original owner to hand over all development approvals relevant to the development work associated with the constructions of the building/s, creation of the lots, and the establishment of the scheme.
Initiate feasibility study to add strata title schemes to the QBCC statutory Home Warranty Scheme,
Investigate insurance implications of current and draft legislation to determine whether strata schemes are disadvantaged and uninsurable under the Building and Construction Legislation,
Introduce more accountability on the certifier, builder and developer by way of increasing obligations at first AGM as suggested in previous Issues/Options Papers or alternatively at time of CMS registration,
Address North Queensland insurance affordability issues by reallocating the previously committed $12.5m to identify building defects (e.g. cladding) and identify a suitable party to inspect schemes,
Investments of $1.8bn in body corporate funds across Queensland warrant a requirement for professional strata managers to have a minimum education and knowledge standard.
TIGHTEN STRATA MANAGER QUALIFICATION FRAMEWORK
To achieve better consumer protection for the owners of 459,000 lots in Queensland a form of registration can ensure better quality strata Managers.
Introduce mandatory entry qualifications for professional strata managers or a minimum registration requirement on the basis of Professional Indemnity Insurance and Code of Ethics,
Assess feasibility of ongoing Continuing Professional Development requirements for strata managers to ensure adequate and up to date education,
Consider funding of strata management qualifications either on state or federal level to support skills shortage.
It will be clear the only way to real reform for owners, Strata managers and occupiers is for a vote for the party that commits to these key election priorities.
Simon Barnard is the Managing Director and Principle of Hartley’s Body Corporate Management which is a medium sized strata firm established in 2004 at Sherwood and now operating out of Graceville, Newstead, North Lakes and Bribie Island.
Simon is in his 5th year as President of the Board of Strata Community Australia (QLD) and was recently recognised for his service to the industry with a fellowship of the organisation.
Simon also sits on the SCA National Board and is engaged at an International level through many consultative groups and associations.
He meets regularly with the Industry Stakeholders group which is convened by the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management and the Office of the Attorney General and actively engages at all levels of government.
Simon has recently been invited to represent the Strata industry on the QLD Government Ministerial Housing Consultative Committee tasked with advising on developing and delivering quality housing outcomes for people and communities.
His contributions at an International, National and State level involve working with key stakeholders and government to ensure lot owners, industry employees, suppliers and Bodies Corporate needs are addressed through Government policy reform, education and training.