QLD State Recap – Autumn 2020


The impact of COVID-19 (aka the coronavirus) is being felt throughout the world, with governments closing borders, encouraging remote working, and requesting/enforcing isolation for those showing symptoms or returning from overseas. It is a time of great uncertainty and one which requires patience and understanding from everyone, but especially those living in the strata community.  

SCA (Qld) has promptly initiated contact with the Attorney-General’s office regarding the issues raised by the restrictions of mass gatherings. Discussions with the Office of Regulatory Policy have been positive, and we have conveyed the urgency of these concerns and the magnitude of repercussions if they are not resolved. Possible resolutions include the implementation of a short-term regulation that specifically addresses the location, quorum number, and electronic voting options available for AGMs, as well as the advancement of the current reform timeline. Further submissions sought to clarify the roles of body corporate managers and caretakers as essential service providers, as well as the status of tradespeople as they visit residences to work at.

On an organisational front, like most of the country, SCA (Qld) has spent late March and April assisting members from a remote office environment. Our initiatives covered not only news updates bi-weekly, but due to our modern office, we had everything in place to go virtual with a couple of clicks. Regular pop-up webinars about best-practice, levies, and legislative requirements; virtual member coffees to keep sane in this time; and developing best practice guides and templates have ensured Queensland members are informed.

Here in Queensland, bodies corporate and their committees have a statutory obligation to act “reasonably”. However, with the current uncertainty and concerns, residents’ definition of “reasonably” may differ significantly. Strata residents need to practise tolerance and understanding, while also acting responsibly and in the interests of the entire community.

With such a dynamic and everchanging situation, restrictions on mass gatherings are continually being revised, with AGMs and even committee meetings affected. The BCCM Office issued responses to some of the problems related to social distancing that may cause uncertainties with quorums, electronic voting/attendance and the impact on the validity of decision making. They reminded bodies corporate that they are able to seek approval from an adjudicator for annual general meetings to be held outside the legislative timeframe, and announced that “provided that bodies corporate make reasonable endeavours to comply with the legislative requirements for holding general meetings, instances of non-compliance that do not affect the voting outcomes will be unlikely to affect the validity of meetings”. 

This is a tough time for everyone and there is great uncertainty over when it will get better. As a scheme, we call ourselves a “community” and, if there was ever a time that we needed to act like one, it is now.   

Queensland Property Law Reform

Recently, SCA (Qld) attended the quarterly stakeholder meeting with Acting Commissioner Jane Wilson, where we were invited to participate in the final round of targeted consultation for the new BCCM Regulation Modules, due out any moment. As you are aware, this reform has been a long time coming, so it’s a truly exciting time, and I’m looking forward to the significant positive impact that updated legislation will undoubtedly have on our industry.

While we will maintain the pressure on both sides of government to deliver this long-awaited legislative reform, SCA (Qld) is not waiting for government to come to the party in advancing our industry. Our dedication to education (recently adding owner education and supplier education offerings into the program, as well as masterclasses to appeal to a different level of professional development) is aimed at the selfimprovement of our members and better understanding of our sector among owners and suppliers. We will continue to actively improve the professionalism of the strata industry in Queensland, with or without government support.

Queensland Building and Construction Commission Regulatory Strategy

SCA (Qld) were invited to provide feedback to the QBCC on its Regulatory Strategy for improving confidence in the Queensland building industry and the enhancing the quality of buildings for owners. SCA (Qld) drafted a submission to the QBCC to consider issues such as: An expanded statutory insurance scheme to cover buildings of threestoreys; A more streamlined and cost-effective building defect rectification process; Improved processes for collecting and maintaining important development and construction documents to ensure they are handed over to owners; and A more proactive approach to work with industry and the Department overseeing the QBCC to make laws that prevent some of the issues later down the track.

SCA (Qld) Conference & Lot Owners’ Day

In mid-March (prior to restrictions on gatherings), the strata community descended on Brisbane for our 2020 State Conference. It was extremely pleasing to see over 130 owners attending our inaugural Lot Owners’ Day, where presenters and bodies corporate chairpersons shared their advice and ideas during the half-day forum. Feedback has been incredibly positive, and we will look to build on this owner enthusiasm at our Committee Training and Owner Strata Starter events later in the year.

Over the following two days, SCA (Qld) held the 2020 State Conference in Queensland’s capital city for the first time ever. A total of 291 delegates attended sessions over the course of the event, with speakers from the AttorneyGeneral, the Acting Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management, Master Builders and Griffith University complementing inspirational keynotes Rabia Siddique and Mao’s Last Dancer Li Cunxin. The Fri night concluded the successful conference with the celebration of the fifth Queensland Strata Community Awards for Excellence, where we recognised some amazing contributors to the industry at the iconic Brisbane City Hall.

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