SCA (WA) President’s Message (March 2022)


Covid-19 finally took a foothold in Western Australia in 2022, just as it began to disappear from news bulletins in eastern Australia.

Like other sectors of WA society, strata managers and communities had to adapt.

WA was in the fortunate position of having had more time than the eastern states to prepare for the arrival of the virus.

Still, there was heightened concern about how events might play out in apartment buildings across the State, despite WA’s high vaccination rates.

In January new case numbers were still low, but with Omicron’s reputation for spreading rapidly, SCA (WA) stepped up calls for Covid-19 guidelines from the WA Health Department.

The association also released its own Covid-19 checklist to help strata managers and property owners prepare for growing numbers of infections and to keep strata communities as safe as possible.

A public education campaign was launched through the media to highlight the need for public health guidelines for residential strata and also to promote the SCA (WA) checklist.

Through coverage on TV, radio and online, I sought to raise public awareness of the various Covid-19 issues strata complexes could face.

At the WA Health Department, officers worked on preparing an FAQ aimed at helping strata managers and communities through the months of rising Covid-19 cases that were to come.

On February 25, WA Health published its Residential Strata Properties — Frequently Asked Questions.

The broad-ranging FAQ covered health department advice and information on issues from what public health measures can be introduced at a strata complex to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission to what is expected of residents who are in quarantine at an apartment.

SCA (WA) subsequently distributed the FAQ to members. Any feedback from strata managers and communities will be passed on to WA Health for any fine-tuning of the FAQ that may be needed.

By the end of the first week in March, daily case numbers of Covid-19 in WA had topped 2000 and our managers and communities continued to rise to the challenge.

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of rising Covid-19 cases, SCA (WA) continued to work with the WA government on addressing problem areas in the amended WA Strata Titles Act and regulations, which were introduced in May 2020.

In December 2021 a working group was formed with the WA government’s land agency, Landgate, to look at the issues and possible solutions.

The working group, made up of SCA (WA) representatives and Landgate officers, had its second meeting in March and talks continue to be constructive. They are currently focused on education pathways for strata managers and problems with Section 87 of the Act which relates to structural alterations.

REIWA Strata has also joined the table.

The working group meetings are set to continue through 2022.

SCA (WA) also continues to build a relationship with Landgate through quarterly meetings with its senior executives and staff and has been able to work with them to hone its strata support line.

A couple of other developments are also worthy of note.

I continue to serve as a member of the Property Industry Advisory Committee which is chaired by the WA Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe and provides advice to the government on the regulation of licensed property occupations in WA as well as other matters.

In the first few months of this year, SCA (WA) also made submissions to the Review of Electricity Corporations (South West Interconnected Systems Prescribed Customers) and also the Draft Position Statement: Planning for Tourism and Guidelines as it relates to short stay accommodation.

I am hopeful the remainder of 2022 will be as productive as the first three months of the year and that SCA (WA) will continue to assist our strata managers and communities in being the best they can be.

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