Building a profile with important government representatives has been a major focus in the past twelve months and it is pleasing to see that we have been able to progress the property law review that commenced in 2014.

lounge-1In November 2015 our lobbying efforts with several Brisbane Councillors, the Shadow Attorney-General and the Commissioner showed success with the release of the Issues Paper: Body Corporate Governance Issues.

Our 2015 strategic plan set seven key performance goals encompassing member facing value add initiatives as well as corporate governance audits and stakeholder liaison. Eighteen months on, our LEAD – SUPPORT – REPRESENT vision has been more and more realised, ticking off an impressive list of achievements that are lifting our profile as leaders in the strata sector. Download the Annual Report here.
We have strengthened our stakeholder engagement and Government Relations by participating in regular meetings and functions with all levels of government, including Ministers, Councillors, the Deputy Premier, the Shadow Attorney-General and of course the Attorney-General. Our quarterly Industry Stakeholder Group meetings, chaired by the Commissioner Chris Irons and attended by representatives from ARAMA, Owners Corporation Network and SCA (Qld) and occasionally by the Office of Fair Trading, are valuable as they address matters of interest to all stakeholders and address room for improvement in the sector. Our advocacy and government relations work has peaked with an address by the Attorney General to SCA (Qld) Conference Delegates in March 2016 following an intimate reception in which the urgency of law reform was addressed in great depth. Ms D’Ath’s message was encouraging as she spoke as Minister for Training and Skills and showed genuine interest in our education program and accreditation pathway. Her views were that SCA's accreditation pathway is providing a much needed career pathway for strata management professionals. Our Code of Ethics supports consumer protection principles and she commended SCA (Qld) on its role in the absence of a licensing or regulation scheme in Queensland.

We have developed twelve concise policy statements. Speaking with the same voice is not always easy to do in a sector that has multiple stakeholders and related industries. Thanks to the Legislation Committee and chair Andrew Suttie, policy statements have been developed that reflect SCA (Qld)’s general stance towards key issues in the strata sector. The organisation’s position as consumer advocate is incorporated into the statements with a view that strata communities should be self-governed and guided by democratic and equality principles as applicable to detached dwellings.

Eight Submissions have been made to Government, including actively driving the release of the Issues Paper: Procedural Issues under the BCCMA which addressed 89 administrational issues that affect many body corporate managers. SCA (Qld) held two member workshops to ensure the submissions made reflect member views and legislative change will incorporate real solutions to long standing problems. The BCCM Act first released in 1997 was the most advanced legislation in Australia at the time and it is disheartening to see the Act almost unchanged 20 years on when other Australian States have moved on progressive, modern and consumer orientated reforms. SCA (Qld) has commented on associated legislation such as the smoke alarms, embedded networks, the Australian Consumer Law and the Neighbourhood Disputes Act.

Collaboration within the sector has been a big focus and I am pleased to report that we have provided a joint submission from the Stakeholder Umbrella Group again. SCA (Qld), ARAMA Qld and OCN Qld have formed the Stakeholder Umbrella Group a few years ago to collaboratively represent common interests such as removing costs for owners, increase productivity, and reduce red tape. In 2015 the Group already jointly submitted its response to the Options Paper “Body Corporate Governance” aligning in 27 out of 29 questions. In relation to the “Procedural Issues under the BCCMA” Paper released in December 2015, the Stakeholder Umbrella Group strongly agreed that body corporate seals are archaic and there is no need to retain them. The Group embraces technology neutral communication options such as electronic voting and electronic attendance at meetings. There were three major discussion points where the group had differing views, concerning spending limits, the two quote requirement for body corporate managers and the voting rights for resident letting agents.

Promoting professionalism has been high on our list and we have launched the Strata Community Awards in 2016 with five winners. In its first year we were pleased to see that there are some talented strata managers entering the industry who invest in professional development (refer to page xxx for the award recipients).

A strong year for advocacy and education comes to an end and it is pleasing to know that the Board is on track, building a strong organisation that is influential. Still looked at as a niche market we have all experienced some disruptions in the last year and there will be more, so make no mistake that SCA (Qld) is well underway to be the spine of a sector that is now worth $80billion. A lot of our work wouldn’t be possible without our platinum partners Macquarie Bank, CHU, Grace Lawyers, Body Corporate Brokers and StrataMax. Thanks to the tireless work of the SCA (Qld) Board Directors, Committee and consultative group members and our staff, we are truly evolving into our next phase.

 

Posted 2016-09-19

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