President’s Report – Autumn 2020

In our last edition, my opening comment was “I don’t expect the coming year to be much different”. Well, how a few months can change all of that.

The start to 2020 is nothing like any of us could have envisaged nor will the rest of year. In fact, I suspect that the way we operate going forward will never be the same. The terrible bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic have all been devastating and on behalf of SCA our thoughts go out to all those who have been impacted and a big thank you to all the volunteers and health care workers who have and continue to work hard to protect our community.

It’s times like these that the benefit of being a member of an association becomes even more valuable. Members need support as their clients, in turn, look to them for support and advice. I am very pleased to say that over the past few months the SCA community has come together and supported each other especially in relation to COVID-19. From the outset it was agreed by all states and chapters that a collaborative approach was needed in our response to COVID-19 and that is exactly what has happened.

You will no doubt have received the many documents that SCA has produced both nationally and at a local level. These are the result of many contributions from members. SCA set up a response committee with representatives from all jurisdictions which has resulted in several submissions to government, production of the best practice guides and many other resources for members. I would like to thank all those who have and continue to contribute and work together on this issue.

As a result of the government guidelines, all events have been cancelled or deferred. The national conference is one of the major events for SCA National and, after careful consideration, it has been agreed not to proceed with this in 2020. We are now working on rescheduling this to 2021. The national awards dinner has also been cancelled and we are working on presenting these electronically. The judging panel are currently assessing nominations and we will advise members once the date and delivery method has been finalised.

All of the states and chapters have been busy working to convert education events to the online platform, webinars and our new education portal. I encourage you to be patient if what you need is not yet online. Our staff are endeavouring to complete these as soon as possible.

Notwithstanding the current environment the first few months of 2020 were exceptionally busy. We held the International Study Tour in Dubai where we were fortunate enough to have a number of site visits including the Burj Khalifa which remains the world’s tallest building, several meetings with Strata Managers practising in Dubai and an audience with the Regulatory Authority who explained the new rules whereby the authority now controls all of the budgets, finances, maintenance works and appointment of committee members along with appointing managing agents. Thanks again to our Education Partners Kelly + Partners for their support and our business partners for attendance.

Late February we held our board meeting in Melbourne where, amongst other things, the positions of our board-appointed directors were discussed. The board welcomes the reappointment of Michelle Cummins for a further two-year term. Marietta Metzger did not seek re-appointment and the board has not yet decided to fill that positon. On behalf of the board I thank Marietta for her contribution and dedication to SCA, we look forward to Marietta remaining on some advisory boards and sharing her experience.

Whilst in Melbourne we also convened a meeting of the National Council where we discussed the need for greater collaboration and sharing of resources with the potential for the national office to undertake more of the administrative roles thereby freeing up resources in the states to concentrate on member services and delivery. These discussions are ongoing. I was extremely pleased to hear positive feedback which demonstrates just how far we have come together over the past 18 months. A lot still do but I am certain we are now on the right path.

We are still working with several training providers for options in regard to the Certificate IV and developing the Diploma in Strata Management and we will provide updates as soon as possible.

In these times, the support of our business partners is more important than ever as is our support of them. Our national business partners have been working with us on several projects and I again acknowledge the support of BCB, CHU, Grace Lawyers and Macquarie Bank together with our newest partner Strata Energy Services and Kelly + Partners as our education partner. I encourage you wherever possible to please support them.

Everyone in our sector has been working hard over the past few months to provide support and resources with many volunteer hours spent producing documents, webinars and other tools for our members and I thank you all for your contributions. Our SCA teams around the country are working hard to assist members and I would especially like to thank our CEO Alisha Fisher who has and continues to work tirelessly to co-ordinate and ensure everything comes together.

In these times the demands of our members significantly increase and we are an essential service. Without strata managers, strata properties will cease to function as there will be no one to co-ordinate the maintenance and deal with the many enquires and financial aspects of the property. Likewise, many of our supplier members are also essential to the running of buildings.

The value of strata managers cannot be underestimated. Our workloads will increase, as will the financial pressures of many in our community together with the cashflows of the properties you manage. I urge you all to continue to support each other through these difficult times as we at the SCA will continue to support you.

Take care and stay safe.

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