ACT State Recap – Autumn 2021

As the evening begins to fall earlier and the leaves begin to change colour, SCA (ACT) remains in full swing within the Territory. Since our last report we have been busy lobbying, working and, of course, celebrating.

The ACT Government consulted with SCA (ACT) in January 2021 with respect to the Cladding Task Force which the government had created to respond to the flammable cladding issues which are now well known nationally. The January 2021 consultation was convened by Di Steward (Project Director, Cladding Reform Project) and Adriana Piani (Chief Engineer). Discussion was had regarding the industry’s access information about building products(or lack thereof) and about what direction the ACT Scheme may likely take. There were some indications that the Government was considering a concessional loan scheme however the facilitators were not in a position to divulge any significant detail. SCA was able to contribute the ACT’s Strata Insights Report. We had expected two or three further rounds of consultation were to occur, however we have not had further engagement at the time of writing. We understand the Government considers itself to be in the throes of further “consideration”. We look forward to an update as to the Government’s progress in this regard and stand ready to assist.

We were very fortunate to have members of the ACT Legislative Assembly Elizabeth Lee and Mark Parton participate in a Chairman’s Lunch, hosted by SCA (ACT). The Chairman’s Lunch sees invitations issued to strata industry leaders within the ACT and provides an annual opportunity to speak with ministers about issues affecting the industry. Elizabeth Lee, Member for Kurrajong was first elected in 2016 and was re-elected in 2020. Since November 2020 she has been the leader of the opposition, the shadow Attorney General, the shadow minister for climate action and the shadow minister for economic development, tourism and major projects – an impressive range of portfolio positions relevant to the industry.

As we settle into the operation of what are predominantly amendments to the Unit Titles (Management) Act 2010 we continue to see matters requiring some further attention from the legislative reform team. The detail of certain certificates and reports to be provided, the apparent lack of clarify around the timeframes for requesting an “update” to the s119 and of course the s119 fee itself.

SCA (ACT) has sought to engage with the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety regarding representations made to industry during the course of stakeholder consultations regarding the recent legislative reform process. Specifically, an increased fee was represented to industry (which was to reflect the additional work now required by strata managers when issuing section 119 certificates). Industry accepted the early implementation of the new legislation in good faith, and on the understanding that the instruments necessary to increase the section 119 fee would follow. We are yet to ascertain when the fee will in fact be increased. We are continuing to seek a resolution to this issue.

Readers may recall the devastating hailstorm which hit Canberra in January 2020. The damage resulting from this event was considerable. While hail only fell for approximately 15 minutes, across the ACT 44,500 vehicles (registered in ACT) suffered damage and the SES received approximately 21,000 telephone calls for assistance. The hail storm caused significant damage to buildings across the territory and considerable remediation and rectification works are ongoing for our members in the Territory. Damage has been estimated as exceeding $514 million.

It was with much excitement that the ACT Strata and allied industries gathered at Hotel Realm on Friday 12 March 2021 to celebrate the CHU SCA (ACT) Awards for 2020. The Board had taken the decision in the wake of Covid, to defer 2020 Awards to March 2021, in the hope that celebration could occur in person. We were not disappointed. Hotel Realm provided a brilliant backdrop to showcase the annual event. The standard of entries for the 2020 Awards in the ACT were exemplary and it was wonderful to see the industry’s very best take to the stage to receive their awards. We were privileged to be joined by our sponsors, as well as representatives of SCA National. Special Mention must go to Dino of Chambers Russell, whose stage presence rivalled that of the great Dave O’Neill himself. We are sure all in attendance will look forward to Dino’s next appearance (which we hope will be at the 2021 Awards). Thank you to all who took the time to celebrate with us. And as Dave O’Neil would himself mandate, a big thanks to Rhonda.

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