SCA Advocacy Round-Up Summer 2021/22

Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has remained a constantly evolving issue throughout 2021 and into 2022; in particular, the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, while lacking lethality, remains highly transmissible.

Reopening and further easing of restrictions in several states and territories has accordingly been accompanied by rising case numbers beyond peak transmission levels observed and recorded in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

SCA regions have been constantly engaging with members to keep their pulse on concerns and working with government and other authorities to ascertain clear, strata sector specific advice. The jurisdictions with the most cases of COVID – Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT – undertook a great deal of action.

SCA (Vic) released its Best Practice Guidelines for Apartment Living during COVID-19, designed to equip residents, owners corporations, managers, and suppliers with useful information and resources to mitigate risk and provide greater certainty. A second edition of the guidelines has been released as of January 2022.

SCA (ACT) completed and sent a submission to the ACT Parliamentary Inquiry into the Territory’s COVID-19 response in December 2021, drawing upon prior consultation with ACT Health about the unique challenges faced by the strata industry.

SCA (NSW) has been in regular liaison with NSW Health authorities in late 2021, coordinating to provide greater guidance for residents, owners corporations and the industry to meet public health directions and best protect the safety and wellbeing of residents in strata buildings.

Strata insurance

September 2021 saw the release of the landmark research report undertaken by Deakin University Business School Senior Lecturer Dr Nicole Johnston, A data-driven holistic understanding of strata insurance in Australia and New Zealand.

The report is the first of its kind to examine the affordability and availability of strata insurance across jurisdictions, as well as to highlight the vital role that the strata management industry plays in ensuring that quality, highvalue insurance is secured for consumers.

SCA’s National Strata Insurance Taskforce (SCANSIT) has been active throughout late 2021, working and consulting closely with relevant stakeholders at the federal government level concerning the design of the upcoming Northern Australia Reinsurance pool and Strata Title Resilience Pilot scheme.

SCA (WA) and SCA (Qld) have been actively involved within their respective jurisdictions in liaising with a diversity of stakeholders in response to the findings of the report.

The momentous work of SCANSIT and the respective state and territory chapters in advocating for greater affordability and availability of strata insurance for consumers will continue well into 2022, particularly as the next federal election approaches.

Building Defects/Flammable Cladding

The discovery of flammable cladding such as Aluminium Composite (ACP) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) panelling on buildings, continues to affect strata consumers across Australia, often entailing considerable costs to remediate.

In a joint initiative, SCA (NSW) worked with the Office of the Building Commissioner to survey 1,400 strata managers and compile a report regarding serious defects in NSW in Class 2 buildings. The report was extremely well received within the industry and sheds light on what is one of the most serious issues facing the building and strata industries.

In December 2021, residents of an apartment complex in Adelaide were cautioned by their owners corporation not to smoke, use barbeques or heating on balconies, in a precautionary move owing to the discovery of flammable cladding on the exterior of the building in these areas, attracting media attention.

SCA Vice-President Joshua Baldwin appeared on 5AA radio to discuss the underlying issues associated with rectifying the presence of flammable cladding on South Australian buildings.

With a state election forthcoming in March 2022, this highprofile example of the proliferation of flammable cladding affecting strata in South Australia has brought the issue into greater public attention and consciousness.


According to NABERS estimates alone, buildings contribute up to 40 per cent of global carbon emissions, while similarly using an estimated 40 per cent of global energy, and 30 per cent of available drinking water.

With the commitment of governments and industry to more ambitious action to combat climate change and facilitate the transition to a sustainable economy, particularly in light of the COP26 summit held in October-November 2021, the strata industry in Australia is well-placed in 2022 and beyond, to lead the way in meeting these objectives.

In December 2021, SCA (Vic) contributed to the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)’s ongoing consultations on energy efficiency, based upon the premise of the Australian Building Code Board (ABCB)’s own proposals in this area.

SCA National has worked throughout 2021 with a specially formed taskforce to achieve a sustainability program that draws from the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) for members that will be launched in the first half of 2022.

With federal and state elections ahead in 2022, SCA’s work in the sustainability space has only just begun, with further advocacy efforts for support from government for a strata-led path towards net-zero emissions and a more sustainable built environment, on the cards.

Strata Legislation

In our highly regulated strata landscape, advocacy on strata legislation is ongoing, and the last few months of 2021 saw reports and actions taken specifically in New Zealand, New South Wales and Western Australia to improve our governing legislation and regulation. SCA’s efforts in this space are ongoing and as the peak body are always prioritised when there is a review, or chance to review our legislation.

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