SCA has kicked off 2023 with a whirlwind of activity in every jurisdiction across Australia and New Zealand. Nationally, strata insurance affordability, availability and transparency has continued as a core priority for our organisation, with SCA working on the implementation of the Phase 1 Trowbridge best practice disclosure advice, to ensure better outcomes for strata insurance consumers.
During the last sitting week of federal parliament in Canberra, the advocacy team held 11 meetings with ministerial and departmental officials from Treasury, Emergency Management, Housing and the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation to represent strata communities’ interests in the insurance space.
In the coming months, SCA is anticipating the release of two compelling research reports. The 2022/23 Strata Insights Report will include updated data and statistics about the size and scale of the expanding strata sector in Australia and NZ. While the Phase 2: Electric Vehicles in Strata Challenges report will feature an in-depth analysis of the challenges associated with the integration of EVs into strata.
SCA (ACT) has seen a flurry of activity to start the year, proactively engaging with government on issues related to strata. SCA (ACT) has provided submissions to, and consulted with government departments on several topics such as electric vehicles, developer regulation and embedded networks, representing the perspective of the strata sector.
SCA (ACT) is encouraged by the recent push from the ACT government to implement reforms to the strata sector that will result in improved outcomes for both consumers and industry, and are committed to maintaining engagement with all relevant parties through the consultative processes.
The recent NSW state election saw a shift in leadership, with the Labor party led by Christopher Minns overturning a decade long stint by the Coalition to form a minority government.
A new government also means a shift in portfolios, and as such SCA (NSW) has been heavily engaged in the process of developing strong relationships with the new ministers responsible for the strata sector. This has notably included the office of Jihad Dib, the newly appointed Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, alongside with SCA (NSW)’s ongoing cooperation with the Office of the Building Commissioner, and the Property Services Commissioner.
Following the royal ascent of the Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters)
Amendment Act 2022, SCA (NZ) has been largely focused on ensuring that members are fully aware of the significance of the changes, when they will be occurring and what it will mean for their business operations moving forward.
From an advocacy perspective, SCA (NZ) engaged on the recent release of the “Electric Vehicle charging strategy: Charging our future” consultation, and is eager to provide the perspective of the strata industry to the NZ Government as other jurisdictions have, to ensure that EV charging infrastructure is accessible for all strata residents.
The strata landscape is in the midst of a significant shift in Queensland, with the reforms to body corporate legislation announced by the Palaszczuk Government last year recently being accepted by the state Attorney-General. These changes are representative of years of campaigning and engagement with government by SCA (Qld), and will most notably include shifts in rules related to smoking, pets, towing and termination of schemes for the betterment of the strata sector.
SCA (Qld) is continuing to strengthen its ties with other strata related industry bodies, both through working groups and industry events, with the goal of increasing industry cooperation and engaging in shared advocacy on strata related issues, with a unified voice for the sector.
The ongoing implementation of the Aluminium Composite Panel Cladding Loan Scheme has sustained as the core priority of SCA (SA/NT) over the past months. The scheme features concessional loans with a fixed rate for strata buildings that are eligible for remediation. With applications open since March 2023, SCA (SA/NT) is working hard with both government and members to ensure that strata residents are adequately supported throughout the process.
SCA (Tas) has been focused on developing relationships within the Tasmanian Government, with the goal of spurring further activity in addressing the challenges facing the strata sector in the state.
Specifically, SCA (Tas) is engaging the Office of the Minister for Primary Industries and Water, who has direct control over the Tasmanian Strata Titles Act 1998, urging for updates from the review of legislation initiated in 2021.
To start the year, SCA (Vic) has directed a significant amount of time and resources to working alongside the Victorian Government to address strata related issues in the state.
This not only includes SCA (Vic) maintaining its relationship with Consumer Affairs Victoria through monthly meetings, but also a recent meeting with the Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs at the Victorian Parliament house.
SCA (Vic) is looking ahead towards the release of a landmark research report provided by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), that will provide evidence as to the best form of government representation for the strata sector, specifically an ombudsman or commissioner office.
The Western Australian Government has recently been engaged on numerous consultations related to energy policy in the state, including issues specifically related to strata, such as Embedded Networks and Alternative Electricity Services. SCA (WA) has played an active role in contributing to these consultations, benefiting from the feedback provided by our expert membership that adequately represents the needs of the strata industry.
SCA (WA) also continues to maintain its strong cooperation with the WA Land Titles Office (Landgate), working through areas of legislation that require change, with the goal of reforming the sector to provide improved outcomes for all strata sector stakeholders.