SCA (QLD) President’s Message

SCA (Qld) has placed a huge focus on advocacy over the past 12 months and we will continue to push relentlessly for positive reform. Whilst there has been a proactive push to reform insurance, building standards and our core legislation that is the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (Qld), events have conspired to perhaps shift focus on this matter a little.

In the days before Christmas, an adjudicator made a ruling on an ongoing smoking dispute in the Gold Coast “Artique” building which marked a fundamental shift in how bodies corporate operate in Queensland. With smoking declared a hazard and a resultant smoking ban on balconies being forced, this represented a fundamental shift in how smoking in strata had previously been ruled on. The implications were wide ranging and this decision will have an impact on Queensland strata for some time.  This decision, while in many ways welcome, demonstrated the deficiencies of what is now a 25-year-old piece of legislation governing strata in our state. SCA (Qld) hit the ground running once we received wind of the decision, engaging all forms of media through our advocacy team. The coverage received hopefully provides stimulus for the State Government to start legislating the plethora of strata reform recommendations.

SCA (Qld) has worked cohesively with SCA (National) since the announcement of the Northern Australia Reinsurance Pool- which obviously given population distribution is an issue which dominates in Queensland. We were pleased particularly to see positive changes made from early-stage consultation which meant that 6,000 more strata properties were made eligible than otherwise would have been. This is a huge achievement and a direct result of SCA advocacy.  We expect the Pool to be rubber stamped by the Senate in the final week of March and up and running, as promised on July 1 this year. I could not be happier for our Northern members; this means everything to owners and managers who have battled this crisis for a decade.

SCA (Qld) continues to be very active in advocating to politicians at the state level around issues that affect our sector in that sphere of Government. We continue to be active meeting politicians from all sides of the chamber to try and move the dial on reform. Legislative change over how schemes are run is desperately needed to ensure community autonomy in strata, efficient by-law enforcement and dispute resolution, an appropriate regulatory regime for strata managers and greater consumer protection for lot owners. Whether it is through the formal consultation process of the Community Titles Legislation Working Group, or by speaking directly to politicians on a non-partisan basis, we are absolutely committed to modernisation of our industry’s legislation.   In the building space, given the ongoing construction boom we are pushing very strongly to expand protections for construction defects beyond three storeys and also to accelerate the move to rectification on the issue of combustible cladding.

SCA (Qld) believes that we are on the precipice of transformative change in our industry. Strata, after a lengthy period being viewed as the poor cousin of detached housing, has really come into its own, matured and begun to be seen as an alternative with its own benefits.  This will require a change in thinking from Government, which we believe they are ready for. Whether it is housing affordability or the innumerable environmental benefits of strata, Government understands we are an industry of the future who can help solve some of society’s most pressing issues. To see the industry best placed to achieve this, a robust regulatory framework and assets which are built and managed to a high standard will be needed. It is the ongoing job of SCA (Qld) to ensure Government understands the complexities and nuances of our industry so that these big picture goals can be made into a reality.

Advocacy for SCA (Qld) has not been a trivial exercise. We have devoted substantial resources, intellectual effort and time to putting the best foot forward of our organisation.

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